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With no advance notice of power outage, Colorado food bank forced to trash items during wind event

Food banks in huge need after food spoils due to power outages
Food banks in huge need after food spoils due to power outages 01:42

Community Food Share food bank had to throw away nearly one ton of food on Monday after Xcel Energy cut power to their property, resulting in refrigerators and freezers turning off. Xcel turned off the power for nearly two days in their area of Boulder County in order to try and avoid a possible fire during Colorado's extreme winds over the weekend. However, the regional food bank says they were not given ample notice to be able to assure their goods would remain cool.


Kim Da Silva, CEO of Community Food Share, said she knew there were going to be strong wind gusts well before they arrived after watching weather reports. However, she was not aware that their power company would be cutting their service in order to try to avoid any downed lines starting fires. She told CBS News Colorado's Dillon Thomas her food bank received a phone call only hours before the power was shut down. However, that phone call came in to their front desk on a Saturday, therefore nobody was around to receive the short-notice warning

Da Silva said her colleague decided to stop by the pantry over the weekend to check on the food to see if it was spoiled.

"We were really worried about losing the food in our freezers and fridges," Da Silva said.


When the staff member arrived, she found some food in one refrigerator had spoiled.

"Mostly everything in there was loss, because it was not sealed an unable to hold the cold for almost two days," Da Silva said.

A total of 45 gallons of milk were thrown out, alongside more than 1,000 pounds of greens, cheeses, meats and frozen premade meals.

Da Silva said the food pantry could have saved all of that food if they had been given advanced notice before the day of.

"We would have been able to get freezer and refrigerated trucks here and move those products into the areas we knew they'd be safe. But, we did not have that opportunity," Da Silva said.

Fortunately, most of the refrigerators and freezers at the food bank were able to hold their seal and remain cool enough to not spoil the foods.

"That would have been devastating to the community," Da Silva said.

Da Silva called on the community to make more donations, if they can, to help cover the losses. She said the food bank has already seen a spike in demand this year in the area they serve -- Boulder and Broomfield counties -- and with many people also throwing out food at their homes due to the power outages, she said the demand is expected to grow in the next week.

"We are already stretched thin. And then to have an increase of need and any loss of food really hurts the food bank," Da Silva said.

Da Silva promised the food bank still had enough goods to continue their services this week. However, she warned there may be smaller portions handed out as a result of the losses.

Community Food Share works with 42 partner agencies which include food pantries and resource centers across both counties.

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