EMPTY STOCKING FUND: PPCAA helps grandmother settle into community

by Jesse Byrnes Special to The Gazette - Updated: December 27, 2013 at 3:37 am • Published: December 26, 2013 | 4:40 pm 0

This is one of a series of stories about the nonprofit agencies that receive money from The Gazette/El Pomar Foundation Empty Stocking campaign that runs through the holidays.

 

At first, Della Reno felt cold and unattached - any sense of community was elusive.

"I felt very, very alone when I got here - and lost," said Reno, 65, who moved to Colorado about a year ago to help take care of her daughter's children.

Reno cares for her grandson, 6, and granddaughter, 8. Their mother travels for work and their dad is in jail. "They didn't have anywhere else to go."

She joined the family in Grand Junction and they have since moved to Peyton. Several times Reno needed help finding housing and basic necessities.

"I've never quite been in this situation before in my life," Reno said. "I was out in the middle of nowhere with nothing and I was stunned and didn't know what to do."

Then she heard of Pikes Peak Community Action Agency, an organization that helps those in need with basic services and information.

PPCAA and its network helped Reno find a place to stay and get food, clothing and heating.

Moving to Colorado from Texas, Reno was unprepared for the climate. "We didn't have any winter clothes. We didn't have much of anything, really," she said.

PPCCA provided coats, hats and gloves. It also provided a phone so she could make calls to find a place to live, helped with deposits and household items, and shared information about other local organizations that offer additional services.

The agency provided gifts for her grandchildren's birthdays. "There was no way I could get them anything," Reno said. "(PPCCA) has provided things for them that there's no way I could provide for them."

Reno said PPCCA gave her reassurance: "Somebody that could be there, help me and tell me what to do.

"The people in this area have been wonderful," she said. "There's been somebody there to help at every turn - it's the greatest community to live in."

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