CENTER — After serving the Center community for over 20 years, Laura Dean retired in April as the director of Center Food Bank.
Saguache Social Services has taken over the food distribution, Dean says, but no one seems to know where the distribution center is located. Social Services now houses the food bank in one room at their location in the Haskin Building on Worth Street.
In 2015, Dean said she served some 60 needy people a month, many of them seniors. In years past the food bank has served as many as 130 migrants each of its days open. And more locals, many of them unable to find jobs, were coming in for food the past few years than ever before, Dean noted.
Dean would ask for a small donation ($2-3) from each visitor to help keep the food bank going. The store also offered clothing and winter coats for families, a service not available at the new location.
The newly opened Rainbow’s End thrift store in Center, however, does offer used clothing and household goods at affordable prices now, so those in need do have a place to go.
“We served everybody, regardless of their situation — all they had to have is the need for food,” Dean explained. Her biggest worry are the seniors on limited incomes who she feels many have been forgotten.
“They need this service almost more than anyone,” she pointed out. “They are the ones who will suffer the most if they can’t get what they need.”
Dean wants to thank her many donors including the local Methodist and Baptist churches, the Kiwanis Club in South Fork, Carter’s Market, now R and J Market, numerous donations given by the Town of Creede, Mike Hurst at Del Norte Bank, donations gathered by the student group People for Cause at Center Schools, generous Center families and many others.
“Without them I couldn’t have done this all these years,” she said.
Dean is still busy helping others collect food items for the needy, even though she is not as active as she once was. She hopes the closure of the food bank will not mean any of her previous clients go hungry, and is thankful she could provide for them as long as she did.