Hunger Relief Center Opening
By Gina Tron
Metro CareRing will open a new Hunger Relief Center this month. “We believe that it’s really a travesty that one out of every four children in Denver, approximately, is suffering from food insecurity or going hungry,” Lynne Butler, executive director of Metro CareRing said. That is one reason for the opening of the hunger prevention center, which Metro CareRing hopes can make a difference.
The center will have a fresh food market as well as classes for people to learn about nutrition and how to grow their own food. There will also be a financial literacy and household budgeting class. At the center, people can get certified so that they can work in the agriculture or food industry.
A health services center will be included in the vicinity. It will be staffed by different organizations such as the Mental Health Center of Denver. There, one can get blood pressure and blood sugar levels tested as well and skin and foot exams. Homeless people in particular often need extra foot care.
There are no income or geographical requirements. To make an appointment simply call in, and one can usually be made within two or three days, Butler said. “It’s a one stop-shop where you receive a week’s worth of nutrient dense foods, receive health services, take classes, and sign up for whatever you might need to get you on the road to self-sufficiency.” ■
RIGHT TO REST BILL GAINS SPONSORS
By Sarah Ford
The Right To Rest campaign, seeking to pass a bill giving rights to homeless people, received a boost in January when three Colorado legislators agreed to sponsor the Denver Homeless Out Loud (DHOL) Right to Rest Act. The Right to Rest Act proposals include allowing homeless people to move and sleep in public spaces, exchange and eat food in public, and use public facilities for hygiene purposes.
The sponsoring legislators are democrats Joe Salazar, John Kefalas, and Jovan Melton. The group plans to introduce the bill to the Colorado House of Representatives this month, according to committee member Athena Landy.
“It gives us time to get more people behind the bill, and hold more stakeholder meetings,” said Landy. The committee will continue meeting with House and Senate representatives to acquire support and sponsorship before the bill’s introduction. Landy said the meetings have generally been positive.
“It’s been much more respective than not. Every meeting I’ve attended [was] a good meeting,” Landy said.
A “Right to Rest” rally in February sought further support and awareness of the bill, which DHOL estimates was attended by several hundred people. Over 25 people spoke about the effect of the Urban Camping Ban and criminalization of homelessness on their lives, according to the group, and Salazar spoke to the assembled crowd about his sponsorship of the bill.
“This is an issue that should be near and dear to all our hearts,” he said. “We are all our brother’s and sister’s keepers, there is not a single person that we should leave behind.” ■