Photo by Elissa Woog
Good Neighbors Help to Ease Hunger in Small Community
According to the Colorado Health Institute, one out of every ten Coloradoans struggle with food insecurity. While residents across the state experience this issue, rural communities in particular are disproportionately affected. It is out of this critical need that Donna Stahley, a member of the Wiggins Community Church, started the Wiggins Food Bank in 2012.
Now run by Pastor Darrell Herde, his wife Michal, Tracy Donaghy, and team of dedicated volunteers, the food bank has delivered much-needed donated nonperishable items, as well as fresh items such as meat, milk, cheese, and vegetables to people in the small town, as well as to the neighboring communities of Weldon, Orchard, and Hoyt, Colorado.
An Essential Part of the Community
However, when COVID hit, the need for these essential items became even greater. With the financial support of High Plains Bank, as well as other local organizations and individuals, the food bank has been able to provide resources beyond food, including clothing, hygiene products, help to pay for utilities, car payments, rents, medical and vet bills, and auto repairs. In 2020 alone, the Wiggins Food Bank provided sustaining and critically important food and other supplies to 500 homes, or approximately 2,000 people in the area.
“It’s about being a good neighbor,” explained Esther Lingo, High Plains Bank Deputy President and lifelong Wiggins resident. “A bank, a church…we’re all in this together. When you see a need and you can help, you help.”
Sharing Love and Compassion
“An essential part of being a community is taking care of one another,” Stahley said. “The food bank started because we saw that too many children and too many seniors in the community were hungry. It started with five families who were in need, leaving boxes of food on their porches. Today, the Wiggins Food Bank has grown and become a source of support, as well as real love and compassion.”
Building a Future Together
High Plains Bank is dedicated to investing in the community, both in supporting local organizations such as the Wiggins Community food Bank, and with the new bank building, now in it's final stages of construction. The new building, approximately 4500 square feet in size, will feature a spacious lobby, state of the art teller lines, new drive through lanes and canopy, and accommodating parking. The building is being constructed by Buildings By Design, with deep community roots in Wiggins.
The new building is located at 401 Central Avenue, diagonally from the old branch.
"We have had the good fortune to be part of the Wiggins community for 20 years now - our team has been operating the bank for much longer,” says John Creighton, High Plains Bank CEO. “None of this would be possible without the support of the community and the long-time and emerging leaders of our Wiggins team – Gail, Esther, Janet, Debbie, Linda, Diana, Ximena, Caleb, Krystal, Karla, Liz, and Raeanne. We anticipate that Wiggins will be a hub for the long-term growth of the organization and to serve the surrounding communities."