Feeding the homeless

Community donations helps to provide special New Year’s Day lunch at Mission Arvada

Michael Hicks
mhicks@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 1/8/21

Jason Romero visits Mission Arvada daily. The nonprofit organization housed in The Rising Church, provides a day shelter for the homeless, serving breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday and …

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Feeding the homeless

Community donations helps to provide special New Year’s Day lunch at Mission Arvada

Posted

Jason Romero visits Mission Arvada daily. The nonprofit organization housed in The Rising Church, provides a day shelter for the homeless, serving breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday and hosting a food bank on Saturdays.

“It’s a really good place to come. There are a lot of benefits that you can utilize here,” said Romero, who has been homeless for about two months. “Arvada sure does a lot for this place. It wouldn’t be the same without the residents here.”

Karen Cowling, who serves as the director for Mission Arvada, noted that the organization also provides showers, a clothing bank, mental health, medical and dental benefits, as well as attorney services and helps to find housing.

So, even though Cowling has several volunteers and Mission Arvada receives plenty of donations throughout the holiday season, a little more never hurts.

That’s where City Councilmember Lauren Simpson and resident Kimber Just came in. The pair helped raise money through the Chow for Champions Holiday Edition program, where the community provided lunches on Thanksgiving and Christmas for working Arvada Police, firefighters and EMTs.

Still, there was about $700 leftover. That wasn’t enough to cater for first-responders, Simpson said, but they could help feed the homeless.

“We thought this would be an excellent way to expend our final resources and still continue doing something positive here in the community,” Simpson said.

So, that’s what they did.

“Lauren contacted me and said that they wanted to help us out with lunch. I said `Great. Let’s do it on New Year’s Day,’” Cowling said.

With food catered by Bennett’s Bar-B-Que, it was a welcoming gesture for an organization that has on average about 250 unique clients monthly, Cowling said. In December, Mission Arvada had 236 such clients, Cowling noted.

“I think it’s awesome,” Romero said. “It’s phenomenal. It means a lot.”

It was a welcomed surprise for those who came in Friday morning for lunch.

“BBQ is different than everything else. It’s not like burgers or spaghetti,” said Pete Tranello, who has been homeless for more than four years. “We eat a lot of noodles here, a lot of salad and mixed things.”

Any meal, however, is appreciated. For those who were fed on New Year’s Day, the simple gesture that the community pitched in to help provide lunch was duly noted.

“It means a lot. On a scale of one to 10 with 10 as the highest that’s a 10,” Tranello said.

“12,” laughed tablemate Douglas Oberle, who called this a special treat.

Mission Arvada has been a godsend and a blessing for the homeless said Oberle. It’s a pseudo home for the homeless, in a sense. A catered lunch to boot adds to the experience.

“If I’m having a bad day instead of turning to other things I know that this place is open. I know that I can come here and have good support,” Romero said. “It just brightens my day. It changes my whole day for the better.”

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