Sunny Side Market now open
Last updated 2/18/2021 at 12:19pm
After several months of development, the Sunny Side Market at the Walt Fortman Center (501 E. Iowa Ave. in Fountain) is open for customers. Owned and operated by the Care and Share Food Bank of Southern Colorado, Sunny Side Market provides residents in need with food free of charge in a warm, dignified shopping experience.
It's a new food distribution model where people can come in and "shop" for the types of items they know their family will use and enjoy, rather than receiving a pre-packaged box full of various items. This is one of two Sunny Side Market locations, the second one being at 1230 S. 8th St. in Pueblo.
"We are so grateful for the city of Fountain for helping make Sunny Side Market at Walt Fortman possible," said Lynne Telford, Care and Share Food Bank CEO. "We're eager to continue to serve the Fountain community and to get more food to our neighbors in need."
Sunny Side Market is designed for efficient and safe service. Residents enroll ahead of time and receive a personal key fob on their first visit so they can do self-guided shopping and check-ins in the future. Community members, retailers and other groups donate a variety of products to the market from fresh vegetables to canned goods, and products that help create balanced meals are labeled "Healthy Choice Foods."
The city of Fountain announced it was leasing a section of the Walt Fortman Center to Care and Share in December 2020. At the time, it was reported that Care and Share hoped to have the market open by early February, with the market open a few days a week and expanding its schedule if the need became greater. Representatives also emphasized they would maintain communication with other local food pantries (such as Connections 4 Life and God's Pantry) "to avoid duplication of services."
The week of Jan. 20, new signs were installed. On Feb. 8, the city announced the Fountain market's opening date over Facebook and reminded residents to pre-register before shopping. The Fountain location officially opened Feb. 10, and the ribbon-cutting ceremony took place Feb. 16. It is currently open Tuesdays 3-7 p.m. and Wednesdays 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
The program is housed in the same area previously occupied by REACH Pikes Peak.
Due to health regulations, only a limited number of people are allowed into Sunny Side Market at a time, so residents should be prepared to wait. As with any other indoor public spaces, shoppers must wear masks at all times inside, and will have access to hand sanitizer.
To find out more about Sunny Side Market, and to enroll online or to volunteer, go to sunnysidemarket.org.