COLORADO SPRINGS — John and Leslie Miller have been pouring their love and support into the Colorado Springs community through their non-profit Crossfire Ministries for the last 27 years.
"We try to be a light in the community for them and to be an encouragement for them," said Leslie Miller. "Our heart is also to feed into their lives."
Nearly every week on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays they, along with the support of about 65 volunteers, allow anyone in the community to come into the grocery store and pick out food for free. Most items in their thrift store are just a few dollars.
The Millers never turn anyone away.
"They just have to come and tell us they have a need," said Mrs. Miller.
"Our goal is to take care of those that are the working people, that just are right on that edge, like a breaking down of the car or something like that would send them over the edge," said Mr. Miller. "We're trying to help them at least maintain where they are even if something were to happen."
"They are friendly and they always greet me with a smile," said one client. "They know my name."
She asked us not to show her face but says the support is critical as the cost of gas rises.
"I'm disabled and I don't qualify for food stamps because apparently I make too much money and this is the only place I can come for food," she said.
Another client raved that Crossfire Ministries has a no-cost grocery store open to the public.
"They don't have to be embarrassed to come," she said.
Dignity is a cornerstone of their work. Instead of handing over a box of food, Crossfire Ministries let clients shop for what they want to eat.
"If you walk through there you'll see we have pineapple, we have cherries, we have oranges, apples, cabbage," said Mr. Miller.
They're able to do this through partnerships with other local non-profits and donations from the community. But it's the vision of John and Leslie Miller nearly three decades ago that made it happen. That's why they are the latest winners of the News 5 Jefferson Award.
"Thank you for this award it's special to us," said Mr. Miller.
"It's beautiful," said Mrs. Miller.
Crossfire Ministries' no-cost grocery facility is located at 3975 North Academy Boulevard in Colorado Springs. Anyone who shows up for help just needs to provide proof of address and an ID for themselves and each family member. They say school IDs are fine for children.
Remember if you know someone going above and beyond in service to our community, please nominate them for a Jefferson Award. Click here for more information.
ORIGINS OF THE JEFFERSON AWARDS:
Started by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in 1972, The Jefferson Awards have honored the incredible spirit and unique accomplishments of over 63,000 national and local heroes.
Every Jefferson Award honoree, from Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Congressman John Lewis, to former Buffalo Bill Fred Jackson has inspired through their selfless public service.
Together, we will bring much-needed attention to those Coloradans who generate the ripples of good in our community.
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