Pueblo Cooperative Care Center is a community faith-based organization with a mission to prevent hunger and improve the quality of life to citizens residing in Pueblo County.
In 1982, Pueblo Cooperative Care Center was established to provide emergency services to less fortunate individuals in the Pueblo community. The Center was founded as and remains a faith-based emergency crisis center. It was established by five local churches and Colorado Fuel & Iron Corporation (CF&I) as an emergency food assistance program to address the needs of over 800 families (2,000 individuals) who were devastated by a loss of employment. CF&I, now known as EVRAZ Rocky Mountain Steel reduced their workforce by up to 1,000 employees weekly. These individuals relied heavily on CF&I for employment and stability as did the Pueblo community. In addition, Colorado's statewide recession was challenging to Pueblo as the cities lifeblood was manufacturing. Pueblo endured eight consecutive years of double digit unemployment and the community population dropped by nearly 10%. Pueblo survived and so did Pueblo Cooperative Care Center which now has support from over 60 churches of multiple denominations, businesses, corporations, foundations, government, civic organizations and individuals.
Pueblo Cooperative Care Center is known as the central hub for individuals in crisis and is now the largest emergency food resource in southern Colorado. Direct services have expanded to include food, clothing, medical prescription assistance, personal hygiene essentials (basic needs), homeless showers, emergency transportation, voucher programs and a "Nutrition On Wheels" (NOW) food delivery program for home bound seniors ages 60 and older.
Each summer Pueblo Cooperative Care Center provides "Power-Up Kidz Sacks" to school age children (ages 2 to 14) while children are not in school. Many children experience a deficiency in nutritious foods which they regularly obtain through the educational system. This program provides healthy and nutritious foods, snacks and beverages to children in Pueblo County. Prior to 2017, Pueblo Cooperative Care Center distributed 500 "Power-Up Kidz Sacks" every year. In 2017, 1,000 children were served by the "Power-Up Kidz Sack" program and increased needs continued to be identified. In 2018, 2,250 "Power-Up Kidz Sacks" were distributed, a 125% increase which included an oral hygiene component added to distributions. Substantial needs remain in Pueblo County and Pueblo Cooperative Care Center strives to meet these needs. In 2019 the "Power-Up Kidz Sack" program served 2,500 children in Pueblo County and in 2020 the program was sheltered due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic. But in lieu of sheltering this program, in 2020 we directly served over 6,000 youth as a result of COVID-19 through effective partnership collaborations with Boys and Girls clubs, Southside Children's Center, United Way and other organizations.