There was a sense of excitement as the doors opened at Wellington Community Church at 2 p.m. on Nov. 17, and it could not have come at a better time.
A small cluster people, not part of the usual crowd, stood chatting together as customers of the Wellington Food Bank wheeled in carts and began choosing the canned goods, milk and other perishables that would see them through Thanksgiving and the beginning of the holiday season. The shoppers were friendly, greeted each other like old friends and were having a good time making their choices.
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Rev. Mark Gabbert, organizer of the food bank, invited the group to gather near the stage. Then Wellington Area Chamber of Commerce board chair Wendell Nelson and Linda Kinzli, annual fundraising dinner chair for the Chamber, presented the Food Bank with a very big check, as seen in the photo. The facsimile check represented $5,183 the Wellington Chamber raised at their dinner through a live and silent auction. It was the most money ever raised at the affair.
Kinzli is already planning next year’s fundraising dinner, held the first Friday in October. “We would be delighted with any large donations that come our way. Perhaps there’s someone out there with a condo or time share in a vacation spot they’d like to offer,” she said. The Chamber chooses a different nonprofit to donate to each year.
Gabbert expressed his gratitude for the Chamber’s generosity. “We’ve just about used up the funds from a grant we were given several years ago. This check will go into our general operating fund and will be enough to see us through a couple of years.”
The Food Bank could not function without the tremendous support it receives from the community and the schools according to Gabbert. “I just picked up 140 turkeys from the schools, 50 more than last year. Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts, the Library, the District Attorney’s office, they all keep us going.”
The Food Bank in Wellington is open every other week and receives the bulk of its food from Larimer County Food Bank.
In the hallway, outside the auditorium-turned-grocery-store, Aida Rodriguez, family liaison for Poudre School District, introduces me to several Hispanic moms. I don’t ask their names. I only ask if the results of the recent national election have had an effect on them and their families. They respond in Spanish too rapid for me to understand, but Rodriguez helps out. “It’s about their children,” she explains. “She has two kids, ages 8 and 11, both born in this country. She has a pre-schooler. She has an 8-year-old grandson, also born in the U.S.”
Their children are frightened. A couple of them sobbed for two days, afraid that their parents might be sent back to Mexico and they would be left alone. “I assured my daughter that if that happened, the whole family would go together. Then she felt better,” one of the moms said.
It was a very good time for the Food Bank to receive a check from the businesses in the Wellington Community — a check hefty enough to see them through a couple more years and evidence of how much the community cares.