The number of people unable to consistently afford nutritious food is on the rise in Summit County, according to newly compiled state and federal data.
Based on the most up-to-date statistics available from 2015, more than a fifth of people in Silverthorne are living in poverty. The county as a whole is a percentage point higher than the rest of Colorado’s population of 5.5 million, approaching 14 percent locally.
“It points to a scary trend,” said Tamara Drangstveit, executive director of the Family & Intercultural Resource Center. “Any time you see statistics, what you see is unfortunately this community is not moving toward poverty reduction.”
The Food Bank of the Rockies assembled numbers identify 12 percent of the county’s population — including more than 16 percent of its children under 18 years old — as food insecure. By comparison, Aspen’s Pitkin County is akin to Summit, while Vail’s Eagle County is lower than both at 8 percent.
The double whammy of insufficient access and affordability leads to the figure that about 3,400 Summit residents regularly struggle with an empty stomach. That figure is alarming to many, particularly because on its face the idea of hardship in a resort community can seem foreign.
“One of the things that we struggle with in more of the affluent counties is a lot of people don’t realize that there are people that need help,” said Janie Gianotsos, Food Bank of the Rockies’ director of marketing and community relations. “At times we hear, ‘Nobody up there needs any help, there’s no poor people.’ They think it’s, ‘Everybody’s working and has boots to pull up the straps on and away we go.'”
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