Soup run touches lives in Colorado Springs

by Kevin Brocksieck & Alma Scott – 

When I arrived at the soup run, I noticed an abandoned bedroll, backpack and other gear obviously belonging to one of the 150 waiting in line for dinner. I greeted familiar faces and newcomers as I walked toward the canteen and was soon refilling coffee cups and handing out dessert around the large downtown parking lot.

Eventually, I met Chris, the owner of the gear I’d spotted on my way in. This was Chris’ first dinner at the soup run. Before finding us, he wasn’t sure how he’d survive the coming Colorado winter. He’d come to Colorado Springs to be near his 13-year-old son and longed to raise him in a good home, much like that of his own childhood. But as he glanced at his small bundle of belongings, I knew how far away he felt from these hopes.

As he finished his meal and moved on to dessert, I could tell our simple conversation was breathing life back into him. He felt he had someone in his corner who would help him thrive, not just survive.

If you took a daily walk by the corner of Spruce and Bijou, you’d plainly see that our immediate goal is to fill empty stomachs. But to many we are a hand up, offering a bridge from dependence to self-sufficiency.

As he continued, Chris talked of his military service and the downward spiral into addiction that followed; of V.A. hospitals filled to capacity and rehab centers with no room for one more. But he could see we cared for him physically and spiritually, and if nothing else, we’d be here in this parking lot every afternoon.

We’ve served thousands of souls throughout the years—some desperate for a way out, some mentally ill, unaware of other options, and some who have made the decision to stay on the street. It makes me wonder why, but no matter. We’ll continue to meet them where they are. And tomorrow, Chris will try again at the V.A. hospital, and be back for dinner at the soup run.

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