Soup kitchen opens in Eagle |

Soup kitchen opens in Eagle

Kathy Heicher
Eagle, CO Colorado

EAGLE, Colorado ” No doubt about it, economic tough times have hit Colorado’s Eagle Valley.

Just ask the Salvation Army. In 2007, that agency handled 715 cases of people in need. Last year, that number jumped to 995, and the demand is growing.

“We now have middle-class people coming in to get food from the food pantry, or asking for help with utilities. The need is big, it’s really big,” says Tsu Wolin-Brown of the Salvation Army.

A “soup kitchen” style dinner offered weekly at the Eagle River Presbyterian Church in Avon, is drawing 30-40 people. The volunteers and workers began to suspect there was a need for a similar program downvalley.

That’s the reason the United Methodist Church of Eagle Valley in Eagle plans to offer a free “Simple Supper” every Monday night, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. The meals will consist of soup, accompanied by rice or a pasta dish. Volunteers from the church, and from throughout the community, will do the cooking and serving. Other local churches have offered to assist.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

Church Administrative Assistant Joyce Engstrom says she is seeing an increasing demand for help. The Salvation Army and the church collaborate on a local food bank. Food is available from the pantry, or from the food bank freezer.

“We have a bunch of laid-off construction workers coming in for the food bank here, and a lot of homeless people,” says Engstrom.

She’s seeing folks who were either laid off by Vail Resorts or who say the winter jobs they normally have are not available this year. Many came to Colorado from out of state. Some live in their cars.

She’s also seeing a lot of single moms, who are struggling to make ends meet.

Some are seeking government help, but are trying to survive the four- to six-week gap of time involved in getting approval for supplemental funds.

The simple supper program was a logical step up from the food pantry, Engstrom says.

The weekly suppers are not restricted to homeless or low-income people, Brown notes.

“It’s just a community meal,” stresses Brown.

Anybody wishing to donate food items to the food pantry in Eagle can drop off items at the church office from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekdays (8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays). Questions may be directed to the church staff at 328-6598.

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