Clayton Cares Market Promotes Inclusion Amid Food Insecurity

Denver – Since October 2021, Clayton Cares Market has been providing food and essentials to over 52 families a week.

The market is an extension of Clayton Early Learning, a development program that serves children ages 0-5 who live in and around low-income areas.

“Clayton takes a whole child and whole family approach. Thus, although early education is at the core of what we do here on campus and in the community, meeting the basic needs of our families is also very important to the development of the young children we serve,” said Sarah Berkman, Deputy Head of Development at Clayton Early Education. “In the market there are perishable and non-perishable goods, household products, women’s health products, and protein milks of every kind. But the idea is to make sure we provide fresh, nutritious food to our families every week.”

Berkman says the individual needs of each family matter, which is why the market chose to implement a survey-based pull system.

“The great thing about the process we’ve implemented here is that the checkout process allows families to select products that aren’t currently offered,” she said.

“They let me pick whatever I want to have. A lot of food stores don’t let you do that,” Wendy Zazueta said. “Personally, I save probably over $50 a week on groceries here, and they have everything I use at home.” So like tomatoes and onions, we use them to make the sauce. Sometimes they have jalapenos, and they have milk all the time.”

Since October 2021, Clayton Cares Market has served nearly 1,900 families and distributed more than 42,000 pounds of fresh, non-perishable foods. However, Berkman says the most important resource they can share is the reassurance that someone cares for them during these difficult times.

“The rising cost of products these days and gas prices, and the ability to access the free grocery market for these families is invaluable not only to the nutrition and health of children, but to the whole family unit,” she said.

At the moment, the market mainly serves families that are registered in the program, but they hope to expand operations soon. For more information on how to visit or how to volunteer at the market, click here.

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