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Food drive for migrant services reveals connection with community

On Friday February 7, Western Colorado Community College delivered needed food and personal care supplies to Child and Migrant Services, Inc. (CMS) a small nonprofit organization in Palisade. The donated supplies will help CMS to provide basic assistance to many farm workers and their families who live and work in the Grand Valley. 

For Western Colorado Community College Professor of Culinary Arts Wayne Smith -food is life. As a Culinary Arts teacher and professional Chef, Smith cooks for a living. His familiarity with the fundamental nature of food and nutrition inspired him to organize a food drive to help stock the food pantry for farm workers and their families at CMS when he learned that food and personal care supplies were running low.

“My work with local, fresh produce has familiarized me with the connection between farm workers and the health of our food supplies and the availability of fresh ingredients at WCCC,” said Smith. “The people who grow and harvest much of our food supply often do so in the margins of our community and we have an obligation to support them when they need help. Our food drive was to me an obvious way to do what’s right.”

For more than a century farm workers have been an important part of the Grand Valley’s agricultural heritage. The Grand Valley was once known for its tremendous apple farms that spanned from Loma to Palisade. Today, the area boasts some of the nation’s most famous peaches while its pears, apricots, cherries and plums are thriving alongside the growing wine industries of the Grand Valley. Throughout this history migrant workers were there ensuring that the community, state and nation’s food supply is vibrant and stable.

“Our organization relies on community support for our mission and operations,” said Child and Migrant Services Executive Director Karalyn Dorn. “Western Colorado Community College demonstrated how that support works and how people can use their creativity to respond during times of need. We are greatly appreciative of Mr. Smith and his entire team at WCCC for their delivery of much needed food supplies.”

The faculty, staff and students donated more than 100 pounds of food and supplies including canned goods, staples such as beans, rice, and coffee, and diapers and sunscreen. The supplies are expected to help see the organization through the final month of winter as warmer weather approaches and the primary working season begins.

WCCC faculty were able to respond quickly because of the natural relationships that exist between a number of college programs, local farmers and farm workers. Jenne Baldwin-Eaton of the Viticulture and Enology program as well as Maren Kempton from the Sustainable Agriculture program were among the programs who collected donations.  

To learn more about the role Child and Migrant Services plays in the community and to support their efforts visit their website for more information.

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Written by David Ludlam