(COLORADO SPRINGS) — The owner of a well-known community pantry in Colorado Springs said the pantry has shuttered its doors because the City of Colorado Springs advised it was in violation of a city ordinance.
The Pikes Peak Little Free Pantry on Pikes Peak Avenue west of downtown has supplied neighbors in need with fresh food, water, and toiletries for almost two years, with many of the items donated by generous members of the community.
In a Facebook post on Friday, Oct. 21, founder Hailey Radvillas said “the City of Colorado Springs has shut down the pantry.” The post was accompanied by photos of the empty pantry, with the refrigerator removed.
The Facebook post went on to explain that the city employee who shut down the pantry said it was because the pantry was in violation of the Bear Management and Resistant Trash Ordinance.
The ordinance specifies that homes on the west side of I-25 cannot leave trash, food, or anything scented that might attract bears outside from the hours of 7 p.m. to 5 a.m., unless secured in bear-proof trash cans.
“Even if we obtained city-approved bear proof containers, if someone took food from the pantry and dropped a bit on the ground, we would be in violation and held liable,” the pantry’s Facebook post reads. “For now, we will continue to provide fresh drinking water. The fridge and drawers have been removed. And the pantry doors have been removed. Plywood will go up as soon as we are able to ensure we do not get a fine when the city returns next week.”
FOX21 News reached out to the city, and they explained that they originally received a complaint that prompted code enforcement to visit the pantry. According to the city, no decision has been made, and the case is currently under review. The city did not have any suggestions on a possible solution that could keep the pantry open.
“To say that we are sad doesn’t do it justice,” said Radvillas in her Facebook post. “I have cried all morning thinking of how many people will be without food. How many people whose lives have been saved by our neighbors taking care of each other… Thank you all so much for your support. It means the world. And we will find a solution. We will keep the spirit of mutual aid alive.”