Nov 15, 2012 7:12 PM by David Ortiviz
Workers who organize the big Thanksgiving Day meal in Pueblo are preparing to serve a record 1,500 people next week. As more people look for a helping hand, some charities say they need more donations.
Families facing hard times turn to the Pueblo Cooperative Care Center at 326 W. 8th St. "A lot of help very big," said one client. The center is giving away free Thanksgiving food baskets now through Nov. 21. "They're making Thanksgiving happen for a lot of families," said another client.
It's good news for those who desperately need the help, but there's a problem: they don't have enough turkeys. "This will be gone by 10 o'clock tomorrow so we're hoping to fly in some more turkeys really soon, especially by Monday when we're going to get hit really hard," said Marcie Bain, the center's Executive Director.
Bain estimates the number of people coming in for help is about 10% higher this Thanksgiving season. "These are people who are newly unemployed, who can't find jobs," said Bain.
With Pueblo's unemployment rate at more than 10.5%, even the community soup kitchen is seeing new faces. "The need is greater than is was this time last year," said Caroline Manley, Director of the soup kitchen. "It's not just the homeless people, because a lot of my people have shelters, but things are so tight they can't afford groceries and their rent too," she added.
It's all building up to what organizers at the Wayside Cross Gospel Rescue Mission believe will be a record turnout for Pueblo's free Thanksgiving Day meal. "Last year we feed 1,260, this year we're planning for over 1,500," said Greg Coolidge, Director of the mission.
Coolidge says volunteers have already started cooking the first batches of 150 turkeys for the event. "Pueblo people have been so gracious, turkeys have been coming in, more turkeys than we needed," said Collidge.
With a surplus of turkeys, the mission plans to give some of theirs to the Pueblo Cooperative Care Center.
The free Thanksgiving meal in Pueblo will take place on Thanksgiving Day from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Union Depot.