Our Community Eats Pantry serves record-breaking number of households


In a touching encounter at Our Community Eats (OCE) pantry, a teenage boy bravely enters alone, revealing his family’s struggle with hunger. 

“My dad is outside in the car and embarrassed to come in. I’m really hungry. Can I get some food?” he asks. 

A compassionate volunteer eagerly offers support. “Of course, we can get you some food. Let me help you sign in, get you a cart and show you what we have.” 

This heartening exchange is just one example of the profound impact OCE has on the community, serving 3,000 individuals and 1,000 families monthly.

What began as a modest, one-room pantry in a local church has blossomed into a thriving 501(c)(3) nonprofit, responding to the escalating food needs among families’ economic challenges. With inflation squeezing household budgets, more families turn to OCE for food support after covering their other essential expenses, a roof over their heads and the lights on. 

OCE is breaking records nearly every month in how many families it serves.

Recognizing the growing demand, Katherine Solbert, fueled by her commitment to alleviate hunger, and with a following of volunteers, spearheaded the relocation from Restoration Fellowship Church to a larger facility, the old Sears building on Cornerstone Drive, in May 2023 and secured its nonprofit status.

Despite its vital role, OCE remains somewhat under the radar in the community. However, recent milestones, such as serving a record-breaking 116 households in a single day on April 22, underscore the urgency of spreading awareness. 

People can contribute to OCE’s mission through simple and easy gestures such as linking their City Market card to their Community Rewards Program and selecting OCE as the beneficiary. With every purchase, 1 percent can help OCE feed the hunger. Don’t hesitate to go online and sign up today.

Behind the scenes, a dedicated team of more than 45 volunteers drive OCE’s operations, from managing the board to stocking shelves and making deliveries to the elderly. Their tireless efforts ensure the smooth operation of this logistics-intensive endeavor that secures and moves more than $1 million worth of food annually. 

Additionally, OCE leverages grants, federal and state donations, and partnerships with local businesses and residents to bolster the food inventory. OCE also invests back into the community by purchasing meat and produce from local farmers and growers.

OCE believes whole-heartedly that it takes a community to help feed the community. OCE extends an open invitation to the community, encouraging visits, tours and support. Whether stopping by for a glimpse of its work or donating, every contribution plays a crucial role in its mission to combat hunger.

Learn more about OCE or contribute by visiting www.ourcommunityeats.com and follow it on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ourcommunityeatspagosa.