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Community Food Share was forced to throw away 2,000 pounds of food after an Xcel power outage



Community Food Share was forced to throw away 2,000 pounds of food after an Xcel power outage

A food bank serving Boulder and Broomfield counties was forced to throw away about 2,000 pounds of food after its Louisville branch lost power for 40 hours during the weekend’s severe weather.

“We didn’t realize we were part of the outage until Sunday,” Kristina Thomas, director of marketing at Community Food Share, said Tuesday. “It is always difficult for us as a food bank to waste food.”

When Xcel Energy made the controversial choice to reduce wildfire risk by turning off power in six counties, including Boulder and Broomfield, Community Food Share was among the 55,000 customers affected by the planned outages. More than 150,000 people lost electricity this weekend due to the company’s decision and extreme winds.

Xcel called the food bank office Friday to report the outage, but it occurred after hours, Thomas said. The team didn’t realize they had been affected until a supervisor stopped by the facility on Sunday.

As a result, they had to throw away thousands of pounds of food, including prepared meals, cheese and 10 gallons of milk.

Thomas understands the preventative steps Xcel has taken because “we are not far from the fire limit of the Marshall Fire” of 2021, and the food bank is now “back up and running.”

But she said the situation could have been avoided if more notice had been given. In that case, the nonprofit would have arranged for refrigerated and freezer trucks to store the product during that time, she added.

“Being without power for 40 hours was certainly unexpected and could have been devastating,” Thomas said. “With food prices so high, having to go back to the supermarket to replace food is a challenge for all of us.”

However, the nonprofit’s largest freezers and refrigerators contained about $80,000 worth of produce and remained locked through Monday, keeping temperatures consistent. Thomas called that fact “a great sigh of relief for all of us.”