Nov 9, 2012 6:44 PM by David Ortiviz
It's the time of year when people in need start asking for help with holiday meals and gifts and for some, even help paying their utility bills. However this year there's such a high demand for assistance, at least one charity says they can't help everyone.
The Salvation Army in Pueblo has already been inundated with calls. Rose Mertz, the director says people who need help with toys this Christmas should call soon. "They need to be coming right now because we've already probably had 1,000 calls or more on phone of people needing help for the holidays," said Mertz.
The Salvation Army is teaming up with other agencies like Posada to organize one big toy giveaway in Pueblo. This year Mertz says the demand for help seems much higher than last year. "It seems like it's almost double," said Mertz. "And everyone is just panicking because they don't even have money to pay to meet their utilities or rent," she added.
Typically, Catholic Charities of Pueblo can offer financial help to people who can't afford to keep their furnace running. But they've been overwhelmed with requests for help these past few months. "We have a waiting list of over 500 names of folks who are asking for utility assistance and our waiting list is closed," said Joe Mahoney, with Catholic Charities. Mahoney says his charity may not be able to help any new clients for five months. "Unfortunately with utility assistance if we can't help there's no one else we can refer them too," he said.
With families struggling to simply pay their bills, The Salvation Army of Pueblo says parents who need help with toys simply need to ask. "We're not even asking proof of income for the holidays because we believe if you're seeking out an agency for help for your children, that you need it and we want this to be a time of hope," said Mertz.
If you need help with food, toys or paying your utility bills there is help available depending on where you live.
-Food boxes are available at the Pueblo Cooperative Care Center, now through December 24. The center is located at 326 W. 8th Street and is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday.
-A free Thanksgiving meal will be provided to the public at the Union Depot on Thanksgiving Day from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
-Toys for families with children 18 and under. According to the Salvation Army, you can get an application by contacting any of the following agencies:
Salvation Army. 520 W. 13th St. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. 719-543-3656.
Posada. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. 719-5458776
Pueblo Cooperative Care Center. 326 W. 8th. 9 a.m. to Noon. Monday through Friday.
Pueblo City Schools
School District 70
-Help paying utility bills if you're a Colorado Springs Utilities customer. Contact Catholic Charities at the Marion House. 14 W. Bijou. Tuesdays walk-ins are welcome from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Wednesday by appointment, call 578-1222.
You must provide a Colorado I.D., proof of income and a disconnect notice for your utility bill.
-Call 211. They can refer you to agencies that might be able to offer other assistance.