13th annual fundraiser stocks local soup kitchen
A line snaked around the Grand Valley Catholic Outreach soup kitchen Saturday morning as hundreds of people waited to receive a handmade bowl and then have it filled with soup.
The irony of waiting in line along busy First Street — as up to 300 hungry folks do almost every other day of the year — was not lost on Jan Hicks.
“It’s a way to show gratitude,” she said while waiting with her mother, Nancy Stover, to get inside the building at 245 S. First St. “Standing in line for a while helps broaden your perspective.”
The Catholic Outreach Empty Bowls fundraiser is the biggest of the year for the nonprofit organization, which offers free meals, showers, clothing, emergency housing and vouchers for living expenses for the community’s less fortunate.
Up to 1,200 bowls were donated for the event along with services and donations from a wide array of local businesses. Up to 100 people volunteered to work the event. Some folks waited in line starting at 9 a.m., but the doors weren’t opened until 10:30 a.m.
“I think people want to give money, but they feel this is better than giving money on a street corner,” volunteer coordinator Nancy Leane said.
Catholic Outreach is one of the sponsors of signs placed in busy Grand Junction intersections that advise against giving cash to people on street corners.
Leane admitted it’s difficult to do when she’s driving around in her vehicle with her grandchildren, who express their concern about helping homeless people they see.
Only a small percentage of those who are helped by Catholic Outreach are panhandlers. Donating money to the organization is a better allocation of resources, she said.
“It’s so neat to be able to say we are doing something to help those people,” Leane said.