High Five: Plenty to go around this month

Some 500 backpacks and hundreds of pounds of food were given away July 27 as part of a distribution hosted by Servicios de La Raza, Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado, The United Way and El Paso County Public Health.

We start with RISE Southeast, which is one of three organizations that received some 180 temporal thermometers for redistribution to neighborhood businesses. Coalition members swung by the Sand Creek Library July 8, 9 and 10 to get the thermometers into area entrepreneurs’ hands. 

The thermometers act as a front-line screening against COVID-19.

“The infrared thermometers are great because when you’re asking your clients or your customers or your employees those questions: ‘Have you had a fever? How are you feeling?’ Providing a thermometer to business owners gives that extra little measure of protection,” RISE Community Coordinator Joyce Salazar said.

The thermometers were free, thanks to a partnership with the Small Business Development Center and Pikes Peak Library District. They are also available at The Community Barbershop, Salon, Hub & Pub, 3750 Astrozon Blvd., and will be at Solid Rock Community Development Corp., 2520 Arlington Drive, starting in August. 

Good food and community support took center stage — or maybe, center pavilion — July 19 at Van Diest Park. The Chinook Center hosted a fundraiser barbecue to both support its efforts to secure a brick-and-mortar site, and to promote its social-engagement projects. Colorado Springs Food Rescue lent a helping hand on the center’s free food pantry, the People’s Grocery. 

Attendees dined on pulled pork, chicken and vegan plates, and learned more about the center’s efforts, which include People’s College in addition to the food pantry. 

Servicios de la Raza kept the good community vibes alive on July 27 when it hosted a food distribution, school supplies drive and COVID-19 testing for the Spanish-speaking community at the Southeast & Armed Services YMCA. Some 500 neighbors in need received fresh food and pantry staples, backpacks and tests for the novel coronavirus.

It was all an effort, said Director of State Programs Julissa Soto, to get much-needed items directly into the hands of those who wanted them. 

“This is a community that didn’t want to go anywhere” for testing, food or other support, she said. “It’s like a little mercado, a little market … where you can stop by and get everything all at once. ... Immigrant lives matter. ” 

Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado, El Paso County Public Health and the United Way have all assisted in Servicios’ ongoing health and wellness efforts, Soto said.

A few days later, on Aug. 1, an event called Backpack Bash helped hundreds of Harrison School District 2 and Widefield School District 3 students get a leg up on their academic supplies. The distribution was a one of five coordinated by COS I Love You and made possible by a massive collaboration that involved Solid Rock CDC, the United Way, Nunn Construction, The Salvation Army, Pikes Peak YMCA, D2, and Colorado Springs School District 11, among many others. 

And finally, hats off to Hillside Connections and its newest board member, Juaquin Mobley. We wish both the best of luck with this exciting new partnership.  

To submit an item for the High Five, email a detailed description of the event, including date and location, and photos with identifying information from left to right to features@southeastexpress.org. For more information, call Regan Foster at 719-578-2802.