by Lindsey Ford, Rocky Mountain PBS, aired on June 7, 2022
“Someone’s life story could be someone else’s survival guide,” said Marie Escalante, of Thornton. Now, she is sharing her story — one where a global pandemic and a cancer battle led to a struggle to keep food on the table for her three children: 10-year-old twins and a 14-year-old daughter.
“Even after chemo treatments I was down for the count,” Escalante explained. She had developed neuropathy — pain and numbness due to nerve damage — in her legs and was often extremely tired.
“My oldest daughter said, ‘Mom, I can cook.’ And I would tell her, you know, ‘I’m still your mom, you know, I’m going to do the best I can to make sure you guys have proper meals prepare and whatever… you’re only 14 and I’m not trying to have you take the weight of the world on your shoulders because I’m sick,'” Escalante recalled.
That’s where Colorado Food Cluster came in. The nonprofit was born out of the pandemic in August 2020 as a way to address the need of kids who were receiving free food at school but then didn’t receive the meals while learning remotely. The organization started putting together boxes of food that included seven dinners, snacks, milk, preparation instructions and QR codes for online learning to families. CFC delivered these boxes to people all over the Denver metro area, Colorado Springs and several other locations.
Now, that service is in “jeopardy.”