Rifle UMC receives $5,000 for Open Cupboard Food Pantry

August 25, 2016
Lovell Building
The Lovell building is where the Open Cupboard Food Pantry is housed and where the community gathers for Extended Table meals.
Story and photo submitted by the Rev. Lisa Petty
Pastor, Rifle United Methodist Church, Rifle, Colorado

The Rifle United Methodist Church received a $5,000 grant from the AV Hunter Trust for their Open Cupboard Food Pantry. Church Historian Shirley LeMoine and Pastor Lisa Petty worked together to write a grant after attending the 2015 Mountain Rural Philanthropy Days conference in April 2015. The grant has allowed for the Open Cupboard to be expanded by twice its size, and provide for many more families in the community as well as travelers.

Rifle UMC's Open Cupboard Food Pantry is open to the public approximately 30 hours a week, 20 hours during the day time and 10 during the evening hours. The church has informally been serving the community in food assistance for over 100 years, they formally formed the Open Cupboard in the 1970s to address the needs of the displaced and underprivileged community. In 1982, many of these needs were met by other organizations that began to open across the valley, and the church closed their pantry for a time as they collaborated with these organizations for a number of years.

However, due to recent policy changes at some of these organizations, Rifle UMC has recognized a need in their community for those who may not have identification or proof of residency, and reopened the Open Cupboard in 2012. Unlike many food pantries in the area the Open Cupboard Food Pantry have no restrictions on who is eligible to receive food, toiletries, gas cards and more. In Rifle in particular, other organizations require proof of residency and limit the amount of aid given during a 30 day window. As far the church knows, they are the only food pantry without limitations between Glenwood Springs and Grand Junction.

The Open Cupboard offer a variety of services and programs including free bags of non-perishable food items, toiletries, laundry soap, pet food, and baby items, for anyone who walks through the doors.  They also provide gas and grocery cards, as well as hotel vouchers (when available) and other necessities.

With the help of a nonprofit in town, Lift-Up, the Open Cupboard helps provide for "Extended Table", a free evening meal provided twice a week for all people. This meal is put on by volunteers from the Methodist church and other churches, the hospital, and the police department. Rifle UMC provides the space for the meal and full run of the kitchen including reusable dishware and silverware, dishwasher and soap, so as to eliminate waste from disposable items.

In the past two years, the church has become home to many recovery groups, parenting groups and scout groups who all have access to and take advantage of the Open Cupboard.

Now with the help of this grant, the Open Cupboard Food Pantry has been able to expand to twice its size in order to help more families in need and travelers who come through Rifle.