This is one of a series of stories about the 15 nonprofit agencies that receive money from The Gazette/El Pomar Foundation Empty Stocking campaign that runs through the holidays.
Karen was working at Wendy’s and was struggling to find enough food for herself and her family.
A friend who also worked at Wendy’s was homeless and suggested trying Westside CARES, as the agency was helping him get back on his feet in a difficult time.
Karen, whose real name is not being used to protect her privacy, lives about a block away from the pantry, so she decided to give it a try.
“They’re really helpful,” Karen said. “They treat everybody with respect and the same understanding.”
According to its website, Westside CARES is a nonprofit partnership of 21 churches that provide services to those in need in the west side of Colorado Springs.
Westside CARES has helped Karen, her husband and her two daughters, with food and other services since they began going there three years ago. And Karen, who found work with a cleaning service, also began to volunteer at Westside CARES.
Two years ago, Karen’s husband needed hernia surgery, and Westside CARES helped him prepare for and get through the surgery.
Karen said they do that for everybody who really needs help.
“They just want to help,” Karen said. “There is always somewhere to go. They were really gracious about helping.”