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Thursday, October 1, 2020

Market Nights provide residents in need with free food and a restaurant gift card

Market Nights provide residents in need with free food and a restaurant gift card

Heeding the call to help residents who need support feeding themselves, or their family, the city is launching a new program called the WestyRISE Restaurant and Food Security program.   

The program has two components:

  • Daily, restaurant-prepared meals for residents over the age of 60 who are struggling to put food on their tables, and
  • Weekly food boxes distributed at a “Market Night” for families in need. Boxes will include fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, breads, and a $35 gift certificate to a Westminster restaurant.

Meals for seniors will start being delivered the week of October 19. These meals are prepared by a local restaurant under the supervision of a dietitian and delivered once a day, five days a week.

The Senior Hub, a non-profit agency that assists aging adults and families in need in Arapahoe and Adams counties, is coordinating this part of the program and if you, or someone you know, would like to register for the meals, call 303-426-4408.

Market Nights start Wednesday, Oct. 7, and runs through mid-December. Food box pickup will take place at City Park Recreation Center (10455 Sheridan Boulevard) in the upper circle drive on Wednesdays from 4-6 p.m.

For more information and weekly updates call 303-706-FOOD (3663). This program is also administered by The Senior Hub with the help of volunteers.

Approved and supported by City Council and the Economic Development Department, the program is funded by the federal CARES Act.

“It’s designed to simultaneously help feed people and support local restaurants through mid-December,” said Innovation Coordinator Gregg Moss. “This is a win for our residents in need and a win for our businesses in need.”

Since the pandemic triggered widespread unemployment, many who held low-paying positions have been especially impacted. The city has seen a significant increase in residents who are classified as “food insecure,” while traditional safety nets like school feeding programs and food banks are struggling to meet demand.

Restaurants are doing what they can to stay afloat, too. However, when asked to participate in Market Night, restaurants were eager to pitch in. 5280 Burger Bar co-owner Clay McPhail contributed two additional gift cards for each one that the city is purchasing. 

“That should help stretch the program’s budget,” said McPhail. “I really hope this helps in a meaningful way.”

While similar programs are being activated around the country, it’s anticipated that this one will be the largest of its kind in the region.  

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