Mayor Bach’s wife, Suzi, learned a whole lot more about the Catholic Charities’ Marion House than just how many meals are served. Even though the Soup Kitchen did serve more than 208,000 meals last year alone, they provide a smorgasboard of benefits to those in need.
(L-R: President and CEO Mark Rohlena, Sam Edwards-VP of Poverty Reduction Services, Suzi Bach, Jeremy Silva-Security Supervisor and Operations Manager, Eric Evans-Director of Marion House Client Services)
The property and buildings were donated by the Tutt family and began by serving 120 meals per day. Last year their food budget was $35,000. They have 19 staff and over 1600 volunteers each month. Collaboration with other community organizations is key to being able to provide resources for every need.
They want to figure out the person’s needs but first they try to find out if the person is safe. They provide a meal and then ease into the assessment. They turn away those who are intoxicated and violent behaviors are not tolerated and will get someone banned.
“We try to meet them where they’re at,” said Jeremy Silva. “We try to serve everything we can; the main ingredient we serve here is love!”
Marion House is the largest soup kitchen in the state and is seen as a model agency for new soup kitchens. Some volunteers have been there for 27 years and there are 50 volunteers who run all the operations.
We were out of coffee, so we put it in every church bulletin and before we knew it we were flooded the coffee. So we call this (below) The Wall of Coffee!” said Sam Edwards.
Peak Producers, a group of the top 10% of all Realtors in the Pikes Peak area formed a partnership with the Marion House to sponsor families in need.
Through the Life Support Program, low income pregnant women and families with young children receive material goods, education, support, information and referrals. Parents have an opportunity to learn Parenting with Love and Logic®, receive financial counseling, and attend classes taught by Security Service Federal Credit Union. Their typical family has an average household income of $7800/year.
Eric said, “We are teaching people to fish. Close to 150 people a day get their mail delivered here. Through Client Services, we assess their needs, help them get get their birth certificates, etc. and help them achieve financial literacy education.”
”Partnerships make it happen!”
Following the tour, Suzi Bach expressed her appreciation for the work the Catholic Charities Marion House does for others. “I saw immediately the connection people have with you. We’ll keep this partnership going and it will be an honor to come back and volunteer!”