At last count, Indy Give! had raised $566,063, but $233,937 was still needed by midnight Dec. 31 to meet the goal of $800,000 for our nonprofit community partners. The campaign will help 58 small, local nonprofits that represent eight major categories of philanthropy, including: animals, arts and culture, a hand up, community building, family, the great outdoors, wellness and youth.
The best way to do your last-minute giving is on our website, but you can also hand-deliver donations or mail them. All donations must be delivered or postmarked no later than Dec. 31.
It's a daisy-chain of giving. Mountain Equipment Recyclers now has a mural in its shop, thanks to local artist Douglas Rouse. But instead of simply paying Rouse for the work, MER will donate $500 to the Trails and Open Space Coalition, an Indy Give! participant.
From the press release:
We met Douglas through mutual friends and asked if he’d create a mural in our store. He knew MER had a greater cause contributing regularly to local non-profits. He quickly agreed to donate his time. Our store is very excited to showcase his work and Trails and Open Space Coalition is appreciative of the $500 boost to their Indy Give efforts.
Rouse, meanwhile, has also just finished a mural on the ceiling of Gasoline Alley, adding another notch to downtown's impressive mural count. See next week's Indy for more on that.
The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization, has given Colorado Springs 45 out of 100 points for protecting LGBT rights.
The scorecard is a part of a study of 137 U.S. cities called the Municipal Equality Index. Only one other Colorado city — Denver — was scored. It received 97 points.
The scores were based largely on the presence of friendly laws and policies. For instance, whether the local police department had an LGBT liaison, whether there was a nondiscrimination policy for city employment, and whether the city had a Human Rights Commission. A pdf of the scorecard can be accessed here.
HRC’s New Municipal Equality Index Details the State of LGBT Equality in Two Colorado Cities
First of its kind nationwide evaluation of LGBT inclusion in municipal law and policy finds cities need to do more to protect LGBT employees and citizens
WASHINGTON — A new report on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) equality in America’s cities by the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization, rated 137 cities across the nation, including Colorado Springs and Denver. The Municipal Equality Index (MEI), the first ever rating system of LGBT inclusion in municipal law, finds that while many U.S. cities lag behind in protections for LGBT people, some of the most LGBT-friendly policies in the country have been innovated and implemented at the municipal level, including in states with laws that are unfriendly to the LGBT community. The MEI was issued in partnership with the Equality Federation Institute and the Gay and Lesbian Victory Institute. The average score for cities in Colorado is 71 out of 100 points, which exceeds the national average. Colorado Springs earned 45 points and Denver scored 97 points.
Key findings from the MEI create a snapshot of LGBT equality in 137 municipalities of varying sizes drawn from every state in the nation — these include the 50 state capitals, the 50 most populous cities in the country, and the 25 large, 25 mid-size, and 25 small municipalities with the highest proportion of same-sex couples.
The 100-point cities in the MEI serve as shining examples of LGBT inclusivity, with excellent policies ranging from non-discrimination laws, equal employee benefits, and cutting-edge city services. As America moves forward in support of LGBT equality, cities across the country are on the forefront of this movement. Cities in every region of the country are fighting for equality at the most intimate level of government. At the same time, cities across the country also have room for improvement. The MEI articulates a path forward and celebrates the success of cities doing this important work.
MEI at a glance:
Eleven of the 137 cities surveyed earned a perfect score of 100 points — these cities came from both coasts and in between, were of varying sizes, and not all are in states with favorable laws for LGBT people;
A quarter of the cities rated scored over 80 points;
45 percent of cities surveyed obtained a score of 60 or higher;
Nearly a third of cites scored between 40 and 60 points, showing good intentions on behalf of municipal governments but also opportunity for improvement; and
Just under a quarter of the cities scored less than 20 points, including eight cities that scored under ten points and three that scored zero.
The MEI rates cities based on 47 criteria falling under six broad categories:
The municipality’s employment practices;
Inclusiveness of city services;
Law enforcement; and
In today’s world, cities must compete for business and brain power. Research shows that to do this, they must treat their LGBT citizens with dignity and respect. Acclaimed Professor Richard Florida authored the forward for the MEI. Professor Florida is a pioneer in research into how the nurturing of a “creative class” (entrepreneurs, artists and architects, researchers, scientists, engineers, and other professionals) creates prosperous, economically competitive cities.
“State and city leaders in Colorado have taken critical steps to protect gay and transgender people,” said Brad Clark, Executive Director of One Colorado, the state’s leading LGBT advocacy organization. “But more can be done to ensure that LGBT Coloradans have the same chance as anyone else to pursue health and happiness, earn a living free, be safe in their communities, and take care of the ones they love.”
“Our nation is on an irreversible path forward in LGBT equality and local and state-level advocacy ensures our voices are heard in public squares across the country,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “This index gives advocates and municipal lawmakers a potent tool to improve the lives of LGBT people.”
"Advances at the local level are often unheralded, but they are critical to building the momentum we need for statewide and federal victories," said Rebecca Isaacs, Executive Director of Equality Federation Institute. "The Municipal Equality Index not only recognizes the remarkable progress that state equality groups and local partners have made in cities and towns across the country, but is a powerful tool to help push local governments to do better."
"The freedom to be ourselves is most important where we live, work and raise our families. That's why it's so crucial that local and municipal governments understand the need to make life better for LGBT people. We work hard to make sure openly LGBT people participate in government as elected and appointed officials, and the MEI will be a great resource for them," said Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Institute.
The full report, including long form scorecards for every city and a searchable database, is available online at www.hrc.org/mei.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
Each year during the preparation for our Best Of Colorado Springs issues, we ask our writers to suggest "IndyPicks." The idea is to highlight a local business, person or event that deserves recognition in an area that our ballot doesn't cover.
This year, Kendall Kullman suggested we write about Happy Cats Haven, a young nonprofit on 21st Street. We said it sounded great, Kendall wrote up a little something for our "Services" section ... and then we failed to include it in today's print edition.
In hopes of getting Happy Cats the attention that we agreed it deserves, we've added it to our online edition. We're also highlighting it below. If you've got room in your house for a cat, this looks like an excellent place to seek one out.
Happy Cats Haven
1412 S. 21st St., 635-5000, happycatshaven.org
Happy Cats Haven is a no-kill shelter that, in less than a year, has rescued about 180 cats and kittens — while welcoming locals who just need their “cat fix,” as board secretary and volunteer program manager Sherri Albertson puts it. Even if you can’t adopt one, Albertson says, you can come in to pet and snuggle the felines during office hours, four days a week. "It's good for the cats and for the people to have that interaction," she says. Happy Cats will celebrate its first birthday from 2 to 5 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 4, with a party/fundraiser at the Old Colorado City Historic Center. The event is free, but your bids in a silent auction will help keep Albertson and her half-dozen other volunteers in business for 2013 and, hopefully, beyond. — Kendall Kullman
Today, as Facebook and other social media forums are turning their national pages purple in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and questioning youth for Spirit Day, Inside Out Youth Services is cheering the local support it received at its annual Ally Up Breakfast yesterday morning — to the tune of $45,000.
More than 350 people gathered Thursday at the Freedom Financial Services Expo Center to raise money for the local advocacy group that provides a safe space and acceptance for LGBTIQ youth. Community members in attendance included City Councilor Jan Martin, firefighter Juliet Draper and House Rep. Pete Lee.
A diverse group of people spoke, including Kelsii, a youth who attends Inside Out; former teacher and Inside Out volunteer Tom Jacobs; and D-11 School Board member Nora Brown. Then Shawna Rae Kemppainen, executive director of Inside Out, introduced Dallas resident David McCrory.
In September 2011, McCrory saw something on Facebook that changed the course of his current life: a comment from A.J., Colorado Springs area-teen, on professional rugby player Ben Cohen's Facebook post about gay teen Jamey Rodemeyer's suicide. A.J. wrote he was sad about Rodomeyer, and that after having been kicked out of his house because of his sexual orientation, he himself felt that he had no other choice except for suicide.
A.J. had been living on the streets for several days and had not eaten anything in two. Many other Facebook users suggested that A.J. call the Trevor Project, billed as "the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth." The Trevor Project's main resource is a hotline young people can call if they're considering suicide and need immediate support. As McCrory says, "The Trevor Hotline is great ... but their focus is on immediate psychological help. There was nothing they could do immediately to help get A.J. to a safe place." Instead of idly standing by, McCrory jumped in action.
Immediately McCrory added A.J. on Facebook, obtained his phone number, and assured the teen that he would help him. After calling many services in the Colorado Springs area, McCrory had experienced little luck in finding a safe place for A.J. to spend the night. So he took a different route.
McCrory called a local hotel and used his own points to book a room and get some food vouchers for A.J. The next problem was that A.J. was nowhere near that hospital. Multiple cab services refused to accept McCrory's credit card from over the phone, the police escort was busy that evening, and McCrory didn't know anyone he could call in Colorado Springs to give A.J. a ride.
By this point it was around 10 or 11 in the evening, and McCrory had told many of his friends and family what was happening with this teen from Colorado. McCrory's cousin in Washington state offered to pay for a car service to pick A.J. up and deliver him to the hotel. Once A.J. was there, everyone relaxed for the evening, but McCrory knew that the next day would bring more obstacles.
"When I woke up, I immediately thought: What can I do now?" McCrory remembers. He called an openly gay-friendly church in Colorado Springs and was directed to Inside Out Youth Services. Kemppainen offered to pick A.J. up from the Hilton and take him to Inside Out so they could begin creating a plan for the immediate future.
However, McCrory was still not done. Teaming up with friends and family, McCrory raised more than $300 in gift cards for A.J., since "he didn't have anything except for the clothes on his back." During the next month, the skincare company where McCrory worked found out about A.J. and donated $1,500-plus to last year's Ally Up Breakfast. When matched by the Gill Foundation, it resulted in greater than $3,000 for Inside Out.
When asked today about what caused him to act, it's difficult for McCrory to answer.
"I really believe in the law of attraction and cause-effect," he says. "I think it was a combination of everything that was happening. I had recently started practicing Kabbalah, gone to my first Gay Pride parade in Dallas, and read about Jamey Rodemeyer's suicide. I had to do something."
It's an emotional topic for McCrory especially because he "can't even imagine what A.J. went through, and all without the support of his parents." A.J., now 20, and McCrory remain in contact, but they only met in person yesterday when McCrory arrived in Colorado Springs. "A.J. keeps asking me how he can pay me back, and I just tell him to take care of yourself and one day pay it forward, too."
McCrory's advice to other teens in similar situations is to "trust and know that there are people that want to help you. But you have to make that first step and realize that they are there."
In McCrory's opinion, "our society needs to step up to the plate and help these kids." More than 1.6 million kids/teens are homeless in the United States, and suicide is now the third-largest killer of teens nationally.
Big numbers — but on the flipside, as McCrory says, "Never underestimate what one small act of kindness can do."
In an e-newsletter, the Colorado Springs Pride Center confirmed today that it was burgled on Sept. 11.
The newsletter said that Center employees could not give details about the robbery, because it was an open investigation, but it said that the crime happened in the morning hours before it was open and that the Center was also vandalized. No one was hurt.
The Indy has contacted the police for further information, but has not received a return phone call thus far. This blog will be updated if police provide more information.
The Center did share pictures of the crime:
Pikes Peak Urban Gardens held its first large-scale Garlic Fest fundraiser this past weekend.
There's been garlic classes and garlic ice cream in years past, but nothing of this size — around 300 people at the Harlan Wolfe Ranch.
I've sat on PPUG's advisory board since around the time the nonprofit formed, so I do this blog post with full disclosure that I'm wearing two hats here: reporter and PPUG member.
Wearing the PPUG hat first, I can share that this fundraiser, the nonprofit's largest behind its Indy Give campaign, raised a little over $2,700 this year, which director Larry Stebbins says will go toward the group's next community garden.
That garden will be at the intersection of Mill Street and Cascade Avenue, breaking ground around October's end and serving up to 35 families in that neighborhood.
PPUG's gardening classes continue into the fall, with "How We Had Our Most Successful Garden in Record Heat and Drought" taking place from 10 to 11:30 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 20 at the Horace Mann Middle School Auditorium. The cost is $5.
If you're up for an expansive slideshow of the fest, visit PPUG's Facebook page here and scroll down for my posting.
Now, as a reporter, who co-judged the salsa contest and master chef contest of the fest with Craig Coffey from Fox 21, Teresa Farney from the Gazette, chef Jay Gust from TAPAteria and Hethyr Pletsch from Everyday Gourmet, I'll share some foodie details from the day.
For the master chef competition (utilizing Ranch Foods Direct steaks), I'll borrow Pletsch's wonderful description (from her Facebook page) of the plates and outcome:
Chef Kevin Campbell from Full Circle Cuisine won with an amazing plate of seared NY strip steak drizzled with raspberries reduced in butter and topped with garlic and bone marrow and a side of fingerling potatoes cooked in olive oil and topped with cherry tomatoes and fresh herbs. The other incredible chef, Nate [Dirnberger] from Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, also made an unbelievable plate of tomato-raspberry-rhubarb coulis topped with diced, sautéed potatoes, beets and summer squash, NY strip medallion and edible flowers.
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo's plate is pictured above, and if you watch the slideshow, you'll get a glimpse of Full Circle Cuisine's as well.
What was personally exciting to me was how engaged the crowd was, watching the chefs prepare their dishes. Between the time the secret ingredients were revealed and the clock timed out (around 45 minutes), fest guests were huddled around each chef's station, asking questions and observing the prep work.
No doubt, this was a foodie crowd. And that makes sense, since PPUG's support base (in terms of class attendance, etc.) is a bunch of local people who want to maximize their annual food yields in their own backyards.
To some extent, lots of these folks didn't need the offered video and hands-on tutorial on planting garlic that was offered. But it never hurts to review one's notes and catch up on Stebbins' latest fixation (from cotton bur mulch to bone or blood meal).
Bristol Brewing Co. provided Laughing Lab, Red Rocket and a house root beer, to be paired with a variety of garlic pizzas from Pizzeria Rustica.
UpaDowna provided some kids activities as well as a frisbee golf hole, and it was all set to music powered by the Pikes Peak Community Foundation's Mobile Music Project.
Outside of those groups, a number of cottage industry vendors and growers like A Joyful Noise Farm were present to sell homemade or homegrown goodies.
And once again, The Blue Star chefs prepared a batch of garlic ice cream, which some folks topped with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar from The Olive Tap. In my opinion, this year's batch was more balanced and pleasing to the average eater than last year's more garlic-y concoction, which I still loved for its oddity.
There was also a salsa contest, in which 15 locals entered salsas that had to contain garlic as one ingredient. That was another tough contest for us to judge, with a broad variety of interpretations bearing everything from avocados, peaches and lavender honey to serrano chiles and habañero chiles.
I apologize that amid the activity I was not able to take down the names of the winners, but each is pictured in the slideshow, should they or someone who knows them care to comment to this post with the information.
Tentatively, look for next year's Garlic Fest to move into the new Ivywild community hub, where the attendance will be allowed to grow significantly.
If you are still thinking about planting garlic this year, now's the time, and here's a link on PPUG's website with tips.
Tim Sweeney, president and CEO of the Gill Foundation (which is the parent organization of the Gay and Lesbian Fund for Colorado) will depart at the end of 2013. The Gill Foundation is a big player in Colorado Springs, where it gives to gay-friendly media outlets, and sponsors many events and nonprofits. Through philanthropy and education, the Gill Foundation hopes to increase equality and acceptance of LGBT people.
The Gay and Lesbian Fund headquarters were located on the eastern edge of downtown Colorado Springs until recently, when the Denver-based Gill Foundation shut that office down and turned the building over to Rocky Mountain PBS.
According to staff, Sweeney's decision to leave is personal, and he plans to return to his home in San Francisco. Sweeney is keeping his commitment to Gill's board to provide a year of notice before leaving. The Gill Foundation released the following statement on his departure:
Denver — (September 14, 2012) — Gill Foundation Founder and Board Chair Tim Gill announced today that Tim Sweeney has informed the board he will end his term as president and CEO of the foundation before the end of 2013. The board will lead a search process to identify Sweeney’s replacement.
“Tim Sweeney’s excellent stewardship has placed the Gill Foundation in the strongest position in its history, and we’re grateful for his service to the foundation, the LGBT movement, and our home state of Colorado,” said Gill.
“Leading the Gill Foundation and working with Tim Gill has been a privilege,” said Sweeney. “I have been humbled by Tim’s generosity, and I am proud of what our staff and our board have accomplished together in the past five years. We were leaders in focusing resources on education and advocacy in the states to build national momentum for equality. We helped reimagine federal advocacy to ensure that agencies include LGBT concerns in administrative decisions. We increased the range and depth of non-gay ally organizations working to advance equality. In Colorado, we revitalized LGBT advocacy and helped build a national model for progressive infrastructure.”
“The foundation is positioned well to continue having a tremendous impact on the LGBT movement and on Colorado, and it’s the right time for me, personally, to return to my home in San Francisco and take on new challenges,” said Sweeney.
“Tim Sweeney is a true pioneer in the LGBT movement and not easy to replace,” said Gill. “From working with Harvey Milk in the ‘No on 6’ campaign, to leading organizations like Lambda Legal and Gay Men’s Health Crisis, to his service in philanthropy at the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund and the Gill Foundation, Tim’s 35 years of exemplary service in the movement has changed the lives of millions of Americans. We asked him to give us a year of transition when he decided to move on, and we appreciate that he has done that.”
“We’re confident that through this transition we will find the right person to lead the foundation into its next phase,” said Gill.
The Gill Foundation is one of the nation’s largest funders of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equal rights work. The foundation has invested more than $220 Million since inception in organizations and programs to achieve its mission of equal opportunity for all Americans, regardless of sexual orientation or gender expression.
Gill Foundation founder Tim Gill also sent this message in regards to Sweeney:
I’d like to share with you an announcement, which I have included below, regarding Tim Sweeney’s planned departure from his post as President and CEO of the Gill Foundation by the end of 2013.
Since creating the Gill Foundation in 1994, I’ve had the privilege to work with a number of outstanding leaders in the movement for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. Tim Sweeney is not only one of the strongest leaders, but also one of the finest people, with whom I have worked.
We’re grateful for his exemplary service, and for his integrity and generosity in helping the foundation through a very deliberate and thoughtful process to identify his replacement.
Thank you, Tim!
Tim Gill, Founder and Chair
During the Waldo Canyon Fire, many charities collected items for the victims.
Donations included water, food, clothes, shoes, diapers, toys, furniture, kitchen appliances, dog crates, pet food and basic household items. You know, everything but the kitchen sink. (On second thought, I'm pretty sure they would have taken the sink, too.)
Anyway, for most of us the fire is now just a painful memory, and the victims have, at the very least, found temporary housing. So where is all the stuff? Did people really claim all of it?
The simple answer is no. As explained in an earlier article, many of the larger charities indicate in the small print that leftover items will go to some other worthy cause. But some local charities were quite serious when they committed to send every item donated to people affected by the fire. And they've stood by their word.
Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado is probably the best example. During Waldo, it collected more than 1.6 million pounds of food. To put that in perspective, all the charity's food drives last year brought in just 400,000 pounds of food.
Asked if Care and Share had any policy that would allow Waldo food to eventually go to the needy if unclaimed by victims, spokesperson Shannon Coker said, "I think that would be an effective way of collecting donations, but we did not do that.”
Instead the food bank has held "farmers markets" where victims have picked up food. Care and Share expects to run out of the food by the end of the month, but still has plenty of water: about 500,000 pounds of it. Coker says the charity will continue to supply the water to victims and first responders until it runs out.
“We’ll have excess water," she said, "that’s the one thing we’ll have plenty of.”
Over at Discover Goodwill, the story is a little different. For a while after Waldo, Goodwill had a showroom with goods that had been donated for victims. Spokesperson Brad Hafer says victims initially wanted clothes and shoes; as they got more settled, there was a big need for furniture and kitchen appliances.
But donations didn't always align with needs. So Goodwill used its voucher system. Basically, if you bring in five pairs of pants for victims, Goodwill staff will look them over and determine their value. They'll then sell the pants in one of their thrift stores. If a Waldo Canyon victim comes in needing some items, he or she will be issued a voucher, then can go to one of the Goodwill stores to pick out whatever's needed.
Hafer says vouchers have prevented Goodwill from having a storeroom full of stuff nobody wants, while allowing the victims to pick out whatever they need, whether that's pants or an area rug.
So far, more than 1,500 vouchers, worth about $50,000, have been issued to about 3,000 individuals and families. That's about 90 percent of Goodwill's total donations, but there are still vouchers available. Victims can call Donna at 243-0511 to set up an appointment.
In a twist of irony, the Springs' generosity has led to more suffering on the part of its most needy.
During the Waldo Canyon Fire, food donations poured in to help the displaced. But those needs were short-term. Now, the fire's victims — most of whom were insured for their losses — no longer need that kind of help.
The poor and homeless, however, need help worse than ever. With summer donations mostly snagged by Waldo or some other disaster or tragedy, less food and fewer donations have been flowing to charities that assist the poor.
The Springs Rescue Mission reports that it is turning families away who need food, and that its pantry shelves are empty. The need for food is "urgent." As always, many of those needing help are kids and senior citizens.
Springs Rescue Mission Issues Urgent Call for Food Donations
[Colorado Springs, CO] — Springs Rescue Mission has issued a request to the Pikes Peak Region for food donations today. Mission staff have characterized this request as “urgent,” noting that the usual flow of food donations has diminished not only from the effect of the anticipated “summer lull” but also from the impact of the recent Waldo Canyon fire.
“The community responded very quickly and generously to the needs surrounding the Waldo Canyon fire and its aftermath,” said Springs Rescue Mission CEO Rev. Joe Vazquez. “It’s not surprising that there would be a slowdown of donations in the wake of that response. Still, during those weeks the number of neighbors who needed food support was steady and of late has shown some increase.
“As a result, not only our warehouse shelves but also our kitchen pantry are bare most of the time. We’ve had to turn people away from our food distribution services. Scores of families have walked away empty-handed because the food simply isn’t there. We’re also stretched very thin at our Samaritan’s Kitchen meals service which offers a few hundred meals daily to our hungry and homeless neighbors.
“Any donation of nonperishable foods would be deeply appreciated at this time — especially proteins like canned meat or fish and canned fruit and vegetables.”
Food donations can be delivered from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm Monday through Friday, and on Saturday from 9:00 am to 11:30 am to the Mission warehouse at 1 West Las Vegas Street, just west of Tejon and Las Vegas.
For more information about Springs Rescue Mission, call (719) 632-1822, or visit www.mySRM.org.
Nowadays, the first thing to come to mind when I say "forest" is probably "fire." But it wasn't always this way.
Remember, before this summer, when the word "forest" meant hikes, jogs and bike rides? It meant butterflies, and freshly fallen snow. It was the home of majestic deer, bears and mountain lions. In short, it was why so many of us live here.
"Forest" meant "fun."
Well, the Trails and Open Space Coalition seems ready to bring back the old spirit with its Happy Trails fundraiser. The event promises all the good stuff: food, beer, chocolate, music, socializing in the great outdoors, and helping a good cause.
Tickets are $50 and reservations are required.
According to the press release, the grant will be dispersed over the course of three years, and the Philharmonic will use the money primarily for its Philharmonic Pops series, which this year includes concerts devoted to the music of Led Zeppelin, John Williams and Broadway blockbusters, plus a screening of Casablanca accompanied by the orchestra.
The Philharmonic's 2012-2013 season starts Sept. 15 and 16 with The Pines of Rome, conducted by Josep Caballé-Domenech.
Read the full press release after the jump.
The fast-food chain, known for its chicken sandwiches, caused quite a stir recently when its CEO announced that the company supported only traditional marriage — meaning it is opposed to gay marriage.
Since then, the company has been condemned by Miss Piggy, among other high-profile folks, and embraced by staunch conservatives like former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. The latter is calling for a Chick-fil-A appreciation day on Aug. 1, when all people who don't think gay people deserve the same rights as the rest of us can make a statement by devouring a saturated-fat-laden sandwich.
Michelle Obama would be so proud.
Anyway, the controversy has left Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado in an "awkward position." CEO Lynne Telford explains that the charity's annual Chick-fil-A food drive is scheduled for tomorrow. The deal is pretty straightforward: Bring two nonperishable food items for Care and Share to your local Chick-fil-A, and get a free chicken sandwich.
It's all a part of Care and Share's annual summer-long drive, the Independence From Hunger Campaign. Local groceries stores and other businesses also participate. The goal is to help the charity ride out a slow summer donation season, because needs are typically high in the warm months, mostly because children are no longer being fed free lunch at school.
Now, local LGBT activists are calling on Telford to either cancel the Chick-fil-A drive, or at least make a statement that clarifies that the charity doesn't agree with Chick-fil-A. Local realtor and activist Carolyn Cathey sent an e-mail to her contacts this morning, urging them to write Telford letters and e-mails. Reached by phone, Cathey says Chick-fil-A has sent a message of divisiveness that isn't needed in Colorado Springs.
“What is important is that we show a face of inclusiveness or we’ll never get to a place where we overcome our monogram of being the city of hate,” she says.
Cathey says she thought it may be difficult to cancel the food drive at this point, but that she hoped Care and Share would at least acknowledge the issue.
Telford confirms that the drive will go on.
“We accept money from every legal organization without regard to their politics," she tells the Indy. "We have 12,000 donors in a year, and clearly there’s going to be a lot different things.”
That said, Telford says she does find the situation uncomfortable. She stresses that Chick-fil-A put no restrictions how donations are used, and that Care and Share is an open and accepting nonprofit.
“It is awkward, but we’re trying to feed people — that's what we’re trying to do, and we set this up a long time before any of this came up," she says. "We’re grateful for the food. The summer donations are down because everyone donated to the Waldo Canyon Fire, and we need to respect the people who wanted that food to go to the victims, and so we can’t use that for our normal operations.”
Due to a slow start on fundraising, St. Paws will match donations up to $1,000 through Aug. 8.
——- ORIGINAL POST, THURSDAY, 2:17 P.M. ——-
Soon after the Waldo Canyon Fire began, I wrote about a few of the smaller and lesser-known nonprofits that were helping during the emergency.
Among them was All Breed Rescue & Training, which shut down its normal operations in order to accomodate dogs, cats and other animals from the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region and from evacuees' homes. Though the owners/parents of these animals may have been going through the hardest times of their lives, it was clear that their pets/babies weren't. All Breed spoiled them rotten.
But All Breed was spending a lot of money on that effort. And, with its money-making operations shut down, it wasn't bringing any cash in. Now All Breed needs rescuing.
Through Aug. 1, St. Paws Thrift Store is hosting a matching fund drive to help All Breed out. Funds will be matched up to $1,000.
Donations will be taken at St. Paws at 3275 E. Platte Ave. Checks should include "ABRT Match" on the memo line. If you choose to give by credit card or cash, you'll need to let the store know what the money is for. For more information, call St. Paws at 597-3647.
Yet another event, this time a bash for the heroes of the Waldo Canyon Fire relief and firefighting efforts, makes its way onto the list of late-comers. Courtesy of Mayor Bach, find the details for the Spirit of the Springs Summer Rally below.
——- ORIGINAL POST, MONDAY, 3:00 P.M. ——-
While life has returned to normal for most residents of the city, the outpouring of support continues for Waldo Canyon Fire victims and first responders. Groups all over the city are still coming together with benefits, shows and other events to raise money and provide help.
Many of these events are rallied and organized so quickly, they can't even make it into our lovely print listings before we go to press. To that end, here's a brief summary of events scheduled around town. Some of these will appear in print this Wednesday, others can only be found here. If you still want to get involved, these are some great resources from your fellow Springsians.
Black/Latino Coalition, along with other community groups, seeks volunteers of all races and ethnicities to help mitigate damage along the burn scar of the Waldo Canyon Fire. Call 432-7247 to get started.
First Responders "Thank You" party, a special event at CityRock climbing center offering free climbing to all Waldo Canyon Fire responders and volunteers after 5 p.m., food from local restaurants available at 8 p.m. and discounted climbing all day with profits going to local volunteer firefighters and stations. Sat., July 21, free climbs from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m., food from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., 21 N. Nevada Ave., 634-9099, climbcityrock.com.
Red Cross Benefit Concert, Adam Gardino and Kelly Champlin perform an evening of bluegrass music brought to you by Black Forest Community Club and Black Forest News. Donations accepted on behalf of the Red Cross. Sat., July 21, 7:30 p.m., Black Forest Community Hall, 12530 Black Forest Road, Black Forest, 495-8750.
2012 Pikes Peak Fire Season Relief & Recovery Benefit Concert, a fundraiser for the Waldo Canyon Firefighters Fund, with life music by the Haunted Windchimes, Radio London, Ceol Ceili, the Charlie Milo Trio and others. Sun., July 22, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. $15-$20. Aspen Valley Ranch, 1150 S. West St., Woodland Park, 748-0033, waldofire.org.
Honor Our Heroes Day, a day to honor emergency responders and all who helped during the Waldo Canyon Fire crisis, with a classic pig roast, food from local restaurants, live music by the Jerry Roskin Band, Susan Rissman and John Wise and others. Sun., July 22, noon to 9 p.m. Donations requested. Bancroft Park, 2408 W. Colorado Ave., 337-8602.
Spirit of the Springs Summer Rally, a "thank you to the Waldo Canyon heroes," offers the Powers corridor a festival of fun, food and a chance to thank first responders, including discounted Sky Sox tickets for the game that follows the event next door — just bring your Summer Rally flier. Sat., July 28, Sand Creek Soccer Stadium, 7005 North Carefree Circle (right next to Security Service field), (719) 385-5256.