January 4, 2021

Pueblo health department offers healthy food bags for New Year's food drive

Alexis Smith

The Pueblo Chieftain
Volunteers pose in front of a truck filled with totes of food that will be handed out to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Pueblo County on Wednesday. Pueblo Food Project, the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment and Cooking Matters came together for the food drive.

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A food drive to feed the members of local Boys and Girls Clubs was held Wednesday afternoon.

The drive was a collaborative effort between the Pueblo Food Project, the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment and Cooking Matters to help students celebrate the New Year.

“We wanted to put together a bag that was going to be a healthy New Year’s Eve celebration,” Monique Marez with the Pueblo Food Project said.

The bag has ingredients to make DIY homemade pizza including mozzarella from Springside Cheese, freshly made sausage from Gagliano’s Italian Market, vegetables, an appetizer dip, and a sparkling beverage.

The ingredients are handed out in insulated cooler bags that were sponsored by the health department.

“In the face of the pandemic, food security is still a major issue,” Marez said. “We’ve partnered with the Boys and Girls Club before, and people may not know this, but they reach out to over 400 families every single week to ask them, ‘What exactly do you need the most help with?’

"Food continues to be at the top of the list, so we thought a nice way to kind of do something festive, have the students feel special, and get some good nutrition in their bellies with food they enjoy.”

Marez said local chefs also were involved, making videos that demonstrate how to prepare the food that is inside of the bags they received.

“Josephine Gagliano provided a video on how to prepare the Italian sausage for the pizza,” Marez said. “It’s really special that the multigenerational piece is tied in too. She is an all-star in the Pueblo food scene, so it’s exciting for the kids and their families to see that and cook along.

MORE: Online pantry using local products for hunger relief

"Mo Montgomery, the Culinary Director for Pueblo Community College also made a video with her son. A lot of people have contributed to make this really special for the kids.

Each of the bags also includes recipes from Cooking Matters, Lindy Webb. Both the videos and recipes are on the Pueblo Food Project website.

Chieftain reporter Alexis Smith can be reached by email at asmith@chieftain.com or on Twitter @smith_alexis27.

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