Residents still feeling pinch of recession

The grip of the recession seems to be strengthening in many respects as more Grand Valley residents are finding as they line up for food at the Salvation Army.

More people also are applying for food stamps, and the number of people needing that kind of assistance has nearly doubled over the last two years, according to the Mesa County Department of Human Services.

It’s not easy for residents of the Grand Valley to seek out help, as JoAnne Kelty told Sentinel reporter Amy Hamilton on Sunday:

“A lot of them are like, ‘I’ve never done this before.’ I had one guy just about start to cry while he was in my office. I think people are really proud and it takes a lot to get them in here.”

As with food stamps, the number of people looking to the Salvation Army for help putting food on the table is about double what it’s been in recent years.

In today’s Daily Sentinel is another story about the waiting list for children to get into the District 51 preschool program.

Usually the waiting list is 35 to 50 youngsters. It’s now 200.

The number is inflated because parents are looking for childcare and schooling as they struggle to get above the recession, District 51 officials say.

These are among many serious signs that much still is wrong with the western Colorado economy. We’re seeing it, and it’s not pleasant. Worse, we’re seeing precious little being done to improve the economic lot of this region.

We’ve seen this community come together in the past to tackle issues of community concern. And while we’re thankful for the safety net provided by non-governmental organizations such as Catholic Outreach, the Salvation Army and District 51’s backpack program, more must be done.

Clearly, the flapping of legislative jowls in Denver or Washington, D.C. is not the solution. State and federal governments have their hands full with their own budget crises and stimulus plans. Their solutions, however, do not appear to be trickling down to us.

The difficulties that Grand Valley residents are encountering should be a clarion call, not to government, but to the private sector — area businesses and individuals.

The fortunes of our valley depend on all of us to do what we can to lift this economy. Donate your time. Buy that car (locally). Fill that hiring need. Give that raise.

It’s time.


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