The pantry is closing as older adults can now safely store for themselves – CBS Denver
DENVER (CBS4)– A pantry in Denver is getting ready to close, and that’s a good thing. A decline in COVID cases and the availability of vaccines have allowed older adults served by Kavod Senior Life’s pantry to get out and shop for themselves.
This week Mandie Birchem, Director of Health and Wellness at Kavod, has shelves in stock for the last time. For a year this was a place for free groceries and hygiene products. It opened in April 2020 because of the pandemic.
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“To make our residents’ access to hygiene and food as safe as possible,” explained Birchem.
Four hundred older adults live in the high-rise apartments in Kavod, Cherry Creek North. They barely left the building around this time last year after Denver stayed home.
Ondalee Kline knew this was for her own safety.
“We probably all have health problems,” Ondalee said at the time. “We have to keep our distance and try to stay home.”
Older adults were hardest hit by the pandemic. The low-income residents of Kavod couldn’t get out and couldn’t afford to stock up.
As the year went on, the pantry grew with donations of canned food, toilet paper, and even fresh produce … Ondalee’s favorite.
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“It’s one thing to have a can of beans and another thing to have an avocado,” Ondalee said.
Ninety-one year old Peggy Clason ordered every two weeks.
“It was just fantastic this pantry was,” said Peggy. “I never wanted anything.”
With fewer COVID restrictions, fewer cases and vaccinations, residents can now safely get out or order groceries so the pantry will leak.
“I am grateful that we had the resources to provide this service,” said Birchem.
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Leftovers are not wasted. Kavod will return to a smaller, free grocery store that has been owned by local residents for 10 years.