COLORADO SPRINGS — The YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region is providing free meals to hundreds of Latino families with the help of other nonprofits and they say this need is urgent.
The issue is the pandemic has cost folks in these families their jobs and since many are undocumented, they can't access financial assistance like that stimulus check many of us received back in April.
Right now, the need is only growing. The number of families who come here to pick up meals have gone from 40 to more than 300.
Thanks to help from Care and Share and their mobile food truck, as well as the nonprofits Food Rescue, Servicios de la Raza, and the radio station Tigre FM, the PPYMCA (Pikes Peak YMCA) is handing out 350 Grab n' Go meals each Monday - that's one meal per vehicle.
These meal bags have essentials like meat, fruit, and veggies plus home goods, such as toothpaste and toilet paper. Even though the food is only meant to last a day, the Y says some families are having to stretch them a whole week.
"Many families don't have meals, don't have food day to day," said Dr. Gloria Winters, chief medical officer for the YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region. "And while most of us go to the grocery store and stock up for a week, two weeks, maybe three weeks during this pandemic environment, they're going day to day sometimes hour to hour."
It should also be noted this distribution is open to any family in need. So if you're a family who would like to pick up a meal, you can show up at the Southeast YMCA on Jet Wing Drive. The food distribution starts at noon. However, keep in mind that meals are handed out on a first come, first served basis and vehicles typically start to line up at least a couple of hours before then.
PPYMCA is also teaming up with the El Paso County Health Department to offer free COVID testing at these food distributions.
If you'd like to help with donations, or by volunteering, you can contact the PPYMCA through an online form you can find here, or you can email Winters at firstname.lastname@example.org.