WESTMINSTER, Colo. — When Annette Vigil first walked in the door at the Have a Heart Project, she was newly divorced and needed a hand.
The nonprofit gave her kids winter coats and told her about the food pantry more than 20 years ago. Now, Vigil is on the board of directors, and she takes pride in serving the community.
“I’ve seen the families, how it impacts them,” Vigil said.
Vigil can’t talk about what’s next for Have a Heart without tears in her eyes. The Westminster-based food pantry and clothing distribution site will close on Dec. 18. Vigil says the closure is even more heartbreaking because it comes just days before Christmas and at a time of great need.
“My biggest thing is I’ve always done a big Christmas giveaway for our families,” Vigil said. “If their doors are closing, I really want them to still have a good Christmas.”
She loves organizing an annual toy drive that gives presents to families with kids up to 18 years old who are often left out. Vigil says she will be handing out toys this year, along with the remaining food in the pantry.
The shelves were beginning to look empty and supplies were running low until the ARC Thrift Stores stepped in. Once officials at ARC heard about the need, they donated food to help the pantry ahead of the closure.
“We have an entire department dedicated to relief efforts, so we just reached out and said, 'How can we help?' They immediately said, 'As much food as you can give us.' We were able to send 2,000 pounds of food right away, and, as you can see, we have thousands of more pounds if they need it,” said Maggie Scivicque, vice president of marketing for ARC.
Vigil is hoping the extra food will help families stock up for the month of December until they’re able to find additional resources to fill the void.
“I let my families know we were closing the door, and they’re hurt. They don’t know where they’re going,” Vigil said.
If anyone is in need of assistance, they can contact Maggie@arcthrift.com to be connected with local resources.