PUEBLO, Colo. (KRDO) -- Doris Ortega uses the Pueblo County Commodities Supplemental Food Program to feed herself and her great-grandkids whom she has custody of; including her 6-year-old great-granddaughter, Chloe.
"It's just a blessing to receive," said Ortega. "I live off of Social Security only, and am unable to have any other income, so I fully rely on getting my commodity box every month.”
Tanya Gurule, a program manager for USDA food distribution for Pueblo County, said resources to keep the program running are at risk.
“We need more people to pick up their packages, it seems that the community is not coming and utilizing our resources,” said Gurule.
Even with the convenient and safe curbside pick-up option, Gurule said they’re still falling 350 short of the 1850 boxes they need to move per month. If it continues, the USDA may move resources elsewhere.
"Normally we go by caseload per state, if we don’t utilize our caseload, then they will utilize it in other areas of the U.S. that have waitlists," said Gurule. "We really want people in the community to keep the food here.”
With the recent surge of the delta variant, Gurule fears more people may be out of a job soon. When that happens, they may no longer have the means to help out.
Ortega said she can't afford for that to happen.
“I’d be really sad if we lost our program here," said Ortega. "The benefit is the kids. They have everything they need through here. Everything from breakfast to dinner is provided to them."
To apply for the Pueblo County Commodities Supplemental Food Program, text "FOOD" to 1-877-644-3663. You must be 60 or older to apply.
The program is also in need of volunteers. More information about how to sign up can be found here.