Until a few weeks ago Kristen had never heard of 2-1-1, the free referral hotline for those in need of assistance.
But after a news anchor mentioned it, she decided to call.
“The minute I called, I knew: This is a godsend,” she said.
When she isn’t working, Kristen spends much of her time volunteering. She never expected to be the one asking for help, but after COVID-19 started spreading, she was placed on unpaid leave from her job. She didn’t know where to turn.
“It got to the point where I was eating food I shouldn’t be eating, like boxed macaroni and cheese that cost 39 cents, every day. I knew if I bought frozen peas, I could mix them in and get more meals out of it.
“I was finding myself at my wit’s end,” she said.
She received a free box of food through a delivery program for seniors and those without transportation that several Colorado Springs nonprofits implemented during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There’s not a couple of hours that go by that I don’t have this moment that I open up my pantry, and I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, I have tuna!”
The day she received the food, she called 2-1-1 again — this time, to thank the people who helped.
“I could not have asked for more beautiful groceries, and I’m crying because I’m so grateful,” she said. “This was the most beautiful thing that’s happened to me in a long time”