Our Story – Eastern Plains Community Pantry
The Eastern Plains Community Pantry began with a vison of a group of people that saw a need to help out individuals and families in the Calhan and surrounding area. This extremely dedicated group of volunteers and board of directors continue to keep the operation moving, growing and well-organized. Clothing and small household items are available to those in need. Items are free although a small donation is appreciated. In addition to the Emergency Food Pantry, USDA Commodities and the Senior Commodity Program, the pantry is also a distribution site for the Care & Share Mobile Food Pantry on the third Friday of each month.
A little bit about the Eastern Plains Community Pantry…
- The restructuring of the Pikes Peak Community Action Agency eliminated food programs available in the area. Care & Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado provided USDA Commodities at the El Paso County Fairgrounds on a monthly basis but it was evident that food was needed more than one day a month.
- In August of 2012, a group of concerned citizens and community organization leaders came together to figure out how to provide food to the needy families and individuals in both Calhan and the surrounding area. They started to look at various options for food programs with greater availability while working with Care & Share as well as other food banks.
- In September of 2012, the group settled on the name “Eastern Plains Community Pantry” (EPCP) and commitments were sought regarding possible sources of funding for the fledgling operation. The group continued to meet and carefully review and discuss options to house and operate a pantry.
- In November of 2012, the group voted to enter into a contract with the Calhan Fire Protection District to house the pantry at the facility that had recently purchased at 701 4th Street known as the former Pikes Peak Co-Op building.
- In January of 2013, a 15 member board of directors was elected. Officers were then elected from the board of directors. A budget was put together and the application process began for a 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt status for the Eastern Plains Community Pantry.
- In February of 2013, the board of directors approved the EPCP mission statement, a lease agreement with the Calhan Fire District, and agreements were put in place with Care & Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado.
- On March 1, 2013, the Eastern Plains Community Pantry truly became a reality and opened for services. The grand opening celebration included door prizes from several local businesses.
- On March 4, 2013, the board met for the first time in the new facility. The pantry served 78 families through the Emergency Food Assistance Program (USDA Commodities) that first month and 14 families were served with emergency food.
- On March 16, 2013, an Open House and Pancake Breakfast fundraiser was held.
- In April of 2013, the IRS officially recognized EPCP as a 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt organization, making donations to the pantry tax-deductible.
- In May of 2013, the board members voted to get EPCP t-shirts and participate in the Calhan Loyalty Day Parade. Uncle Sam rode on the float with “Uncle Sam Wants You to Help Feed the People” posters promoted the pantry and food and monetary donations were collected.
- In June of 2013, approval came for the Pikes Peak Community Action Agency (PPCAA) to rent space from EPCP and provide its services in conjunction with those offered by the pantry.
- On July 15, 2013, PPCAA officially began offering its services from EPCP on July 15th.
- On July 19, 2013, EPCP joined in conjunction with Calhan Pride Day for their next fundraiser, a pig roast.
- On September 14, 2014, EPCP joined up to participate in the Calhan Homecoming Pancake Breakfast.
- July 2014 – ongoing – EPCP participates in the Calhan Summer Festival, selling pulled pork sandwiches plates to raise money for the pantry.
- May 2015 -ongoing – EPCP participated in the Loyality Day Parades.
- 2017 – EPCP participated in the Christmas Lights Parade.
- Ongoing – EPCP continues to expand in providing food and clothing for the surrounding area. We have expanded our hours to 6 days to better serve the people.
Grants have been received from Mountain View Electric Round-Up Fund, Safeway, Rocky Mountain Conference of the United Methodist Church, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. Local individuals and organizations continue to make contributions to the pantry. These grants and donations allow EPCP to continue providing this much-needed service to the community. Support from the Church Community of Calhan and throughout the area has been extremely helpful. EPCP is an ongoing, thriving operation.
~~Thank you so much for your part in this effort from the EPCP Board.