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SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

RMSER efforts & opportunities for the Pueblo community

RMSER Flyer for Food Pantry. Photo by Cidonia Ponce.

By Cidonia Ponce

Rocky Mountain Service Employment and Redevelopment Center has many resources for the Pueblo community. This nonprofit organization has been around Colorado for over 40 years and has continued addressing the community’s needs. Recently, RMSER in Pueblo became one of the first Empowerment Centers in Colorado, offering various services and opportunities to local businesses, families, and Pueblo youth.

Brandi Adakai has been involved at RMSER for the past nine years and now serves as the Community Center Director for RMSER here in Pueblo and has talked fluidly about its history.

RMSER was incorporated in the 1980s and provided services that leaned more toward the migrant and seasonal farm workers (MSFWs) in the Western Slope. These services helped prepare MSFWs for jobs that offered higher wages and more stable employment. Five years into the program, RMSER started its first head start grant, enabling the program to expand services across Colorado. “At one point in time, we were in 31 counties across Colorado offering our MSFWs services and head start services,” Adakai mentioned. 

However, in 2020 shortly after the pandemic, RMSER shifted its services from childcare and focused more on food access for all. Through partnerships across Colorado, RMSER can distribute food not only in the Pueblo region but also to Denver and the San Luis Valley areas.

RMSER’s Empowerment Center in town offers many start-up businesses, nonprofits, LLCs, and other organizations expanding their services into the community. Even though this idea started in 2022, the RMSER Empowerment Center has been very successful and now offers various ancillary services. Adakai referenced a particular service as their “beacon of light” when referring to the significance of RMSER; The Food Pantry.

RMSER’s food pantry contains all locally sourced food available to anyone who needs access. “We make sure to get the top-of-the-line product because everyone needs and deserves to eat nutritious and healthy food,” Adakai stated. RMSER provides access to food while supporting local farmers and small businesses in Pueblo. Everyday food items in the pantry are purchased from Musso’s Restaurant, Joevito Bella Pasta, Gagliano’s sausage, and Martino Cattle Beef (Colorado Cattle Company). 

RMSER’s Food Pantry also partners with the Pueblo Food Project to access the best available food. “Our farmers market is actually located in-house at the Empowerment Center, so we are able to purchase fresh produce from local farms here in town,” Adakai mentioned. “We want to make sure we are making systemic change within our food system here in Pueblo and beyond.” RMSER’s Food Pantry is open every Wednesday and Friday from 4:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. with no barriers to registration and access to the food. 

RMSER houses 17 programs, including the Pueblo County Boys and Girls Club, where they utilize the space for meetings, sports events, and clinics. Kennedy Pugh with Colorado Art and Artist Associates offers services leaned more towards youth interested in theater, acting, and music. Monique Marez is a food system expert who offers services at RMSER through her consulting practice, Eptimizo LLC, which focuses on food businesses, governments, and nonprofits to build a stronger food system. Ryan Yankee with ACES School of Creative Expression offers art therapy services to all children and adults nontraditionally.

More services include The Learning Source, a Denver-based organization that expanded services to Southern Colorado that provides free English Second Language classes. The Center for Health Progress is another program that focuses on health equity and the disproportional and impacted areas in the community. The Come Up is another nonprofit that dials in on at-risk youth through mentorship and skill building.

These are just a few services offered at RMSER’s empowerment center, but another program is just starting and focuses on families impacted by agriculture. Christina Grublak is also a part of the RMSER team serving as the Field Representative for the Work Division. Grublak is starting the National Farmworker Jobs Program (NFJP) to focus on getting the needed resources for Pueblo’s agriculture population. Individuals with at least two years of agriculture experience may be eligible to receive NFJP services through a thorough registration process. “We help with support services, tuition, job placement, and much more that people may not know about,” Grublak stated. For more information about the NFJP program, individuals can contact Christina Grublak on Facebook or at 719-744-7827.

RMSER has many other programs that are upcoming and other events that can be informative for our community. For more information about RMSER, visit Brandi Adakai on Facebook or tune into Rev89 Productions and search for RMSER’s T-Wolf talk.

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