The Springs Rescue Mission has issued an urgent request to the Pikes Peak region for food donations.
Mission staff on Tuesday noted that the usual flow of food donations has diminished, not only from the effects of the anticipated "summer lull," but also from the impact of the recent Waldo Canyon fire.
"The community responded very quickly and generously to the needs surrounding the Waldo Canyon fire and its aftermath," said Springs Rescue Mission CEO Rev. Joe Vazquez. "It's not surprising that there would be a slowdown of donations in the wake of that response. Still, during those weeks, the number of neighbors who needed food support was steady and, of late, has shown some increase."
Mission staff said their warehouse shelves and kitchen pantry have been noticeably bare the past few weeks and they have had to turn people away from food distribution services.
"In 16 years, this is the emptiest I've ever seen our food pantry," said Vazquez.
Vazquez said the food shortage mainly affects the number of food bags available to needy families, and that the weekly number handed out has fallen from 40 to 20. He said of the Mission's food supply, 20 percent is purchased, 20 percent is provided by the Care And Share Food Bank, and 60 percent is donated by the public.
Mary Jane Teigan, a grandmother, said her family of four receives food from the Mission, and wonders how she'll make ends meet.
"I'm worried about a bunch of people not having enough to eat," she said.
The food shortage, said Vazquez, has so far not affected the nearly 200 daily hot meals provided by the Mission. However, he said if the situation continues, the staff will have to use food intended for food bags, for the daily meals, worsening the situation.
Stacy Poore of Care And Share said her agency can help the Mission by providing perishable, refrigerated food, so the daily meals won't need to draw from other needed food supplies.
The Mission also received a 50-percent increase in non-perishable food supplies from the food bank last month, said Poore, but demand apparently exhausted that supply.
Vazquez said some donors may feel they've already donated enough to causes like the Waldo Canyon fire and Hurricane Isaac relief. He said the Mission needs more food to tide it over until late October, when food donations usually increase leading up to the holiday season.
Food donations, particularly nonperishable foods like canned meat, fish, fruit, and vegetables, can be delivered from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. to the Mission warehouse at 1 West Las Vegas Street, just west of the intersection of Tejon and Las Vegas.
For more information about Springs Rescue Mission, call (719) 632-1822, or visit www.mySRM.org.