Nov 24, 2009 9:46 PM by John Romero
A drive along Cimmaron and I-25 these days is a sobering one. Rows and rows of homeless are camping out on the water front. It's an unfortunate sign of the economic times. "We began to see it last March." Explains Catholic Charities CEO Jason Christensen, "That was the harbinger of the economy going down. People have really been hurting for about a year and a half."
The Marian House on Bijou used to serve about 400 meals a day. Now that has jumped to around 650. But at the end of the month it's even bigger as evidenced by the number of people camping out in Colorado Springs. "It's not uncommon for us to serve 800 meals towards the end of the month." says Christensen, "Those lines are getting bigger and they're getting longer."
And who is the most in need may surprise you. "Certainly a number of homeless have been rolling through the soup kitchen. But it's also a number of families and working poor. About 65% of our guests at the soup kitchen are working poor." says Christensen. With those families comes another heartbreaking reality. "Unfortunately there's a lot of fresh faces that are walking into the soup kitchen." Christensen says, "Perhaps the most tragic matter is the number of children. In the last year we've seen the number of meals served to children double."
The need doesn't stop in the soup kitchen. The Marian House routinely distributes about 10,000 jars of baby food to single mothers. Right now they have literally 10 jars on the shelf. That's something to remember as you do that last minute thanksgiving shopping.