Social service agencies that assist the needy with food, shelter and other basic supplies are scrambling to keep up with growing demand as employees are being laid off from businesses, schools have closed and all facets of life slow down.
The Colorado Springs Corps of the Salvation Army provided more than 120 families with food bags in two days this week out of its offices at 908 Yuma St., said spokeswoman Brett Marie Harrison.
“It’s been significantly increasing — it’s pretty scary,” she said.
Distribution grew from 50 families on Monday to 70 on Wednesday.
The Salvation Army provides disaster relief services during emergencies of all kinds so, “We’re fighting through it with everybody and will be there for the community,” Harrison said.
With some local nonprofits, government programs and businesses shutting down, Springs Rescue Mission, which has 450 beds for the homeless, has seen use of its daytime shelter double from 160 to 350 clients on Tuesday, said spokesman Travis Williams.
That required using other facilities on its campus to accommodate overflow, he said, and marks a record for the organization.
Essential services including the homeless shelter and programs, feeding operations and access to the day shelter, which has showers and laundry, remain open, Williams said.
Organizations are in need of donations, including money, food to distribute and cleaning supplies; the Salvation Army needs canned goods, Harrison said.
Although some of the locations Care and Share Food Bank supplies have shut down, more clients are showing up at the ones that are open, said Lynne Telford, president and CEO. The organization has spent $400,000 of its food purchasing budget and had to wait on more donations to come in to re-order.
"We went out on a limb, trusting the community would help us out," she said. "The community is rallying like they did during the Waldo Canyon and Black Forest fires, and we're so grateful. But the problem is we don't know how long this is going to go on or how much worse off it's going to get."
Locally, the pandemic has triggered Pikes Peak Community Foundation's Emergency Relief Funds for El Paso and Teller counties, which allow residents, corporations, and private foundations to donate money during a municipal or county emergency declaration.
The funds, created in partnership with Pikes Peak United Way and the Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency Management, will be distributed by an advisory board of community members, to assist with short- and long-term rebuilding efforts.
Nonprofits can apply for assistance, and the public can make donations at https://www.ppcf.org/relief.
Statewide, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis also announced Wednesday a new online site where Coloradans can sign up to volunteer or donate to organizations and efforts to assist people during the pandemic, Help Colorado Now (covrn.com). The governor also started the Colorado COVID Relief Fund, which has raised nearly $3 million to benefit seniors, health care, medical supplies, child care, homeless shelters, food delivery, workers who have lost their jobs, small businesses, volunteer services and behavioral health initiatives.
Colorado Springs Food Rescue: Giveaway of fresh groceries has been consolidated at one location: the Helen Hunt Nonprofit Center at 917 E. Moreno Ave. Times: 3 p.m., Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays; and 1 p.m. on Saturdays. The organization collects unused food from businesses and organizations and distributes it to families in need. Food donations are needed, as well as monetary at www.coloradospringsfoodrescue.org/donatecovid19.
The organization also is setting up a Mutual Aid Hunger Response team, a “short-, mid- and long-term tactic to ensure our community stays nourished,” executive director Zac Chapman said. More than 90 people have signed up.
The Colorado Springs Corps of the Salvation Army: The food pantry gives away food, hygiene and infant items from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at its offices, 908 Yuma St.
The R.J. Montgomery homeless shelter, 709 S. Sierra Madre St., houses and feeds up to 220 homeless people nightly, which includes 100 beds for women and children. The shelter provides dinner, informal breakfast, and caseworkers who help clients establish life skills, employment and path to self-sufficiency.
The Colorado Kitchen, which provides hot meals for anyone in the community, is open with $2 hot take-out lunches and dinners, available Monday through Friday at 908 Yuma St. Lunch hours: 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.; dinner 5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. For information on any of the food programs, call the office at 636-3891.
Catholic Charities of Central Colorado: To-go meals are available 11 a.m. to noon each day at The Marian House Soup Kitchen, 14 W. Bijou St., but congregant dining is closed. Donations for sack lunch items, such as granola bars, apples and oranges, lunch meat, peanut butter, chip packets and sandwich bags, grocery bags and containers are being accepted 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Monday through Friday at the dock.
Most other client services, such as job, medical, showers, laundry and other assistance, have been suspended. Clients needing mail pickup, and expecting delivery of a birth certificate, driver’s license or check, can call 719-866-6435.
Westside Cares has closed its offices and services, with the exception of the Wednesday afternoon food pantry distribution at Westside Community Center, 1628 W. Bijou St., which will continue to operate with vouchers being issued onsite and fewer “choice” items.
Schools across the region are giving away free sack breakfasts and lunches, under a federal government waiver. See the map for times and locations at https://gazette.com/news/coronavirus-in-colorado-springs-map-where-to-get-free-lunch/article_b1479358-6781-11ea-a7e0-77955253210a.html.
Springs Rescue Mission has closed nonemergency services but continues to operate a shelter for 450 homeless people with meals and a transitional housing program at a complex at 5 W. Las Vegas St. The organization needs hand sanitizer, soap, cleaning wipes, scanning thermometers and toilet paper, which can be dropped off from 9 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. Monday through Friday at 21 Las Vegas St.
Silver Key Senior Services is doing home delivery of meals through its Meals on Wheels program, observing social distancing protocols. Sit-down dining has been suspended, but to-go meals are available through its Connections Cafe congregate meal sites. For information on meals, call 719-884-2300 or go to:https://www.silverkey.org/services/home-delivered-meals/.
Care and Share Food Bank continues to supply emergency food to distributors around southern Colorado. The organization’s greatest need is “for healthy volunteers to help pack emergency food boxes and keep our regional food bank in operation,” said spokeswoman Becca Sickbert. Volunteers ages 16 and up can sign up at careandshare.org/volunteer.
The organization is still accepting donations of nonperishable foods at 2605 Preamble Point, but Sickbert said, “We encourage the community to help us move more quickly by creating virtual food drives or donating online directly at careandshare.org/donate.
Next Step Horse Rescue, 2222 N. Ellicott Highway in Ellicott, needs donations of shavings, alfalfa cube and pellets, grass pellets and hay bales and other supplies for rescue horses.
The weekly cost to feed the 25 horses on site is more than $1,000 on feed and bedding alone, said Betina Tacoronte, president. Three fundraisers had to be canceled due to coronavirus restrictions, she said, leading to budget concerns.
“We will struggle due to the COVID-19 virus and are asking for the community’s help,” she said.
Roth Premium Foods, a USDA prepared foods manufacturer in Colorado Springs, is selling cooked meat, such as meatloaf, pulled pork and chicken breast and chicken chile verde, at wholesale prices from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday at Boot Barn Hall at Bourbon Brothers, 13071 Bass Pro Drive.
The items are prepared fresh each day at the company’s plant and will have 14 to 30 days of fresh, shelf life. Customers can order online for pickup at rothind.com/buynow.