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Summit County nonprofit works to make sure kids are fed over the weekend

Aug 13, 2023Aug 13, 2023

BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. — The COVID-19 pandemic opened eyes to the issue of childhood hunger across the United States. At Smart Bellies in Breckenridge, volunteers are working to make sure families have food on the table.

"Smart Bellies is a weekend food program. We started pre-pandemic as a backpack program. So, we would send food home with the kids every Friday through the schools," said Margaret Sheehe, co-founder of Smart Bellies. "Then as the pandemic happened, we moved to a home delivery system."

Volunteer Amy Lange started dedicating her time to Smart Bellies right at the beginning of the pandemic.

"Amy's like a utility player on the baseball team. She has done everything for us. She's done the deliveries. She comes to packing almost every single week," said Sheehe. "She's got new ideas for us. She's warm. She helps us when new volunteers come in."

For Amy, giving back to her community is something that comes naturally for her.

"My motivation is helping — helping the community and the kids that really need the food over the weekend," said Lange.

Lange says since she started working with Smart Bellies, the need for help has grown exponentially.

"We were doing maybe a couple hundred bags, and now we’re up to 750 kid bags. So, we need all the help we can get," she said.

For Lange, her most cherished moments of volunteering are the joy she receives when dropping off a bag of food to a family in need.

"When I do deliveries, the parents come out, or the mom usually comes out, and they’re so appreciative," said Lange.

Lange hopes her story will help others in Summit County get out and help kids in need.

"I just hope anybody who sees this and lives in the community, that they come out and support Smart Bellies. It's a really, really great organization," said Lange. "It's growing by leaps and bounds."

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