Bienvenidos Food Bank Sees Lull in Support Amid Inflation

By Eric Heinz

Lianne Evans said she has been coming to Bienvenidos Food Bank in Sunnyside for about two years, and without it, as prices have surged lately, it would be a struggle to get by.

“There have been a lot of things that have gone up in price, like getting a corned beef this year for Easter, if you think about it, how expensive it is,” Evans said.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the consumer price index for September in Colorado rose 7.7% compared to last year, even as prices dropped slightly for the month. For Bienvenidos volunteers, they have felt that strain.

The food bank said the demand for its products has increased more than 29% in both its store-front weekly food pantry on 38th and Pecos and its mobile locations. On top of that, the number of new clients the food bank has documented has increased 68% compared to last year, with most of the clients being working families.

Volunteers with Bienvenidos Food Bank listen to clients who seek food on a recent Thursday giveaway. Photo by Eric Heinz

“I had one woman in line last week who said her rent increased 14% and that left her with little extra money for food,” said Greg Pratt, the executive director of the Bienvenidos Food Bank. “She works as a full-time administrative assistant. Another woman said she had to choose between paying for internet for her kids’ school work or food.”

Pratt said some of the new clients are people who used to frequent the food bank but hadn’t in a couple years, but the need for resources remains high. He said some of the donations and funding sources he used to rely on have either not been able to provide much or at all this year.

“I would say the availability of donated food is the lowest I’ve ever seen,” Pratt said, adding that food from grocery stores the food bank saves before it expires has also been very low.

“I think if you go to the grocery stores, you’ll see that they’re just not carrying as many things, their inventories just are not as high, and so they don’t have as much actually leftover,” he said. “The good news is that we’re able to go out and buy food that we need, but I’m having to look for sources that I’ve never had to look for before.”

Pratt said Bienvenidos will serve about 200 families a week during its food giveaway, which comes out to about 20,000 clients getting food from them each year. Several volunteers worked during an October weekly food giveaway.

The line of people was consistent throughout a chilly morning and the afternoon. A woman who asked to be identified as Mel said she works as a caregiver for people with mental disabilities. She said she’s also been taking care of her family and has had to save money wherever she can.

“My brother is having some hard times right now, so I’m trying to take care of him and my two kids, and my job is not really stable right now,” Mel said. “You gotta make sure what you want. I don’t know. Pay my bill or eat?”

Bienvenidos Food Bank is located at 3810 N. Pecos St. and serves clients 10 a.m to noon and 3:30-5:30 p.m. on most Thursdays. More information on food pickup hours and ways to donate can be found at


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