Thank you to the Colorado Springs Magazine for doing this piece on us.
Every Monday, from 11 am to 1 pm, a brightly colored food truck from Food Trucks Against Homelessness serves between 85 and 100 hot, delicious meals to some of our most vulnerable neighbors in the parking lot of Westside CARES at 2808 W. Colorado Ave.
This innovative program began in January 2021, at the height of the pandemic, through the enthusiastic and compassionate efforts of two area residents, Tracey Porter and Marcy Langlois. “Our mission is to feed people in need, regardless of their situation, one hot meal at a time,” Porter says. “We envision that no one goes hungry, and each person has the opportunity to become self-sufficient.”
No strangers to adversity, Porter and Langlois faced significant hurdles in their own lives. “We were fortunate to be surrounded by caring people who supported us,” Porter says. “Now that we’re financially stable, we see it as our responsibility to give back to people who need it most. Once we got over the initial shock of what was happening around us [because of the pandemic], we knew we had to make a difference for people in poverty and for local businesses.”
They approached Kristy Milligan, CEO of Westside CARES, a nonprofit that provides clothing; community nursing; and food pantry, prescription, and financial assistance for rent and utilities. The timing couldn’t have been better. “Because of COVID, we had to sunset [close] an indoor, congregant meal,” Milligan says, “and we didn’t know how we were going to provide hot food and community to our neighbors in need. These ladies have been absolute heroes. And we’re excited to partner with them.”
Since its inception, the program has served almost 4,000 meals to our neighbors in need with assistance from 12 local food trucks. In addition to food, they also offer clothing and other essential items.
Courtney, a delightful young woman wearing a tie-dyed shirt and jeans, is one of the neighbors served by the program. She used to feed the homeless until she became homeless herself. “This program means the world,” she says with tears in her eyes. “It means that, every Monday, I can come here and have something hot to eat, and being on the street, that’s hard to find. It’s a blessing to know that somebody cares, and there’s not many people inside a home that treat us with respect. They look at us like we are scum. But we find, by the grace of God, our way of surviving.”
Courtney is receiving professional coaching though Westside CARES. She hopes to become an entrepreneur and work alongside Tracey to help the homeless. “That’s all I have ever wanted,” she says.
Standing in the parking lot, watching as people chat and pick up their meals, Milligan says, “When anyone can show up irrespective of their housing status, irrespective of their income level, and get a hot meal with a smile, it means a lot to the entire community. When one of us is lifted, we are all lifted.”