NOREEN: Community answers the bell for Thanksgiving

BARRY NOREEN Updated: November 16, 2012 at 12:00 am • Published: November 16, 2012

The Pikes Peak region — the community that keeps on giving.

After the Waldo Canyon fire in June, the community’s charitable outpouring was impressive, but it left some in the nonprofit sector wondering whether there would be enough generosity left over for the holidays.

As far as Thanksgiving is concerned, the question has been answered. In early November, Catholic Charities sent out an alarm of sorts, noting that few turkeys had been donated and the organization was far short of its 500-turkey goal.

Rochelle Schlortt, Catholic charities communication director, said that as of Monday there were just 20 turkeys in the pantry. After stories in The Gazette and in other media spread the word, the pantry’s shelves were not bare for long.

“Tuesday, the turkeys started coming in,” Schlortt said. “A woman (who insisted on anonymity) came in and had purchased 150 turkeys. It’s been overwhelming.”

By Friday afternoon, Catholic Charities had received 646 turkeys, Schlortt said.

Schlortt explained that Catholic Charities had a goal of providing 50 turkeys at Marian House for Thanksgiving Day, 300 food boxes carrying dinner and the trimmings to be delivered to folks and 150 turkeys “to be delivered to our outlying pantries.”

After a week of community giving, she said, “we had all that covered.”

Silver Key Senior Services, which also provides food bags for 600 clients at Thanksgiving, is “doing really well,” said Silver Key’s Lorri Orwig.

It all seems noteworthy, but maybe we shouldn’t be surprised.

“The public typically responds and that’s what happened this week,” Schlortt said. “Anyone is welcome to have a meal at the Marian House anytime, including Thanksgiving Day.”

Pretty soon “we’ll be sending out a call for hams, come Christmas,” Schlortt said.

The economy is creeping back slowly but it’s been rough. The fire was arguably the worst calamity ever to strike Colorado Springs.

In some ways, 2012 has been the worst of times. Yet the community has shown a remarkable resiliency.

Before the Waldo Canyon fire the Pikes Peak region had more than the usual number of people in need of jobs, shelter and food. Since the fire the community has been showing what it is made of.

We all have our limits.

Perhaps the combined burden of the recession, the Waldo Canyon fire and the holidays will tap the community dry.

Maybe we’ll get to the point we have nothing more to give, and that another Christmas season and a long winter will push our communal envelope too far.

But something makes you think: “Don’t bet on it.”

Listen to Barry Noreen on KRDO NewsRadio 105.5 FM and 1240 AM at 6:35 a.m. on Fridays and follow him Facebook and Twitter. Contact him at 719-636-0363 and barry.noreen@gazette.com

 

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