Vendor Update, October 2014

By Dionne Gilbert, Vendor Coordinator

We have already had a taste of late fall, although it is just starting. I think everyone was cold and the vendors were somewhat surprised by it. But thankfully, our office was prepared. We are blessed enough to have received donations from several people for cold weather gear, and I want to give a huge shout-out to all of those who donated clothing to us. One donor in particular stands out: Patagonia, which has been sending us coats and jackets now for a few years. They donate several boxes of jackets, hats, and clothes. 

The downside to this generosity is that when our vendors wear these jackets, some people assume they don’t need money if they can afford to wear Patagonia gear. So my response to that (laugh) is the vendors can’t afford Patagonia gear, nor can I. But thanks to generous donations, we can all stay warm. Please, look beyond the labels to the vendor underneath.

It has been an exciting time this last month, with many things in the works. We have our annual breakfast coming up: Rise & Thrive on October 14th at Trinity Church (1820 Broadway), from 7:30-8:30 a.m. Attendees will learn more about our program and be able to make a financial pledge in support of the Denver VOICE. If you’d like to attend, check our website for more details!

We also have a new name for our neighborhood—it is now called Arapahoe Square. The heart of the neighborhood sits at a two-block area of Curtis, between 20th and 22nd. The revitalization of this area is very much a community endeavor, a coming together of local businesses, residences, the homeless, and maybe some of our area services for the homeless. As a VOICE representative, I will be there as well. I believe that it is highly important that we try to reinvigorate all of this area to live better together. And if we can create more understanding among all of the people here, it will be a beginning. This area has been undergoing vast redevelopment, and wouldn’t it be a beautiful thing to start seeing it cleaner, with understanding and tolerance?

One of the high points of this past month was a phone call from Fort Collins. We have wanted to branch out into Fort Collins and to reintroduce our program to Boulder again. It would help those areas’ homeless to make a living legally and without having to panhandle. The gentleman I initially talked with owns a restaurant there and is willing to become a satellite office for the paper. So I am working out the bugs and seeing when it would work for me to meet with them to discuss the finer points. They have already discussed this with some of the local homeless there, and they were very receptive to the idea.

The vendors as a whole, however, have commented that it has been a little slower out there and on the mall. It is also the season where they are starting to pick up colds and the other bugs that are out there. But then again, so is everyone. I have to give them credit for their resilience, however, and credit for the fact that they still continue to work through all but the worst of it. I know we all worry about the impending winter, and it looks like it may be a tough season. But many of the vendors are well seasoned, so I am sure they will adjust. I know that they wouldn’t trade the time they spend vending and all the smiles and love they get from the people downtown or wherever they vend. Good job guys!