HOPE food pantry to close on Broadway

Longtime nonprofit, currently pantry and thrift store, to continue as foundation

Posted 2/11/19

On a bitter cold day on South Broadway, Catherine McHenry got on the phone to help a man who came in from the snow find information about Giving Heart, a homeless-services center just a few blocks …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Username
Password
Log in

Don't have an ID?


Print subscribers

If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.

Non-subscribers

Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.

If you made a voluntary contribution of $25 or more in Nov. 2018-2019, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one at no additional charge. VIP Digital Access Includes access to all websites


Our print publications are advertiser supported. For those wishing to access our content online, we have implemented a small charge so we may continue to provide our valued readers and community with unique, high quality local content. Thank you for supporting your local newspaper.

HOPE food pantry to close on Broadway

Longtime nonprofit, currently pantry and thrift store, to continue as foundation

Posted

On a bitter cold day on South Broadway, Catherine McHenry got on the phone to help a man who came in from the snow find information about Giving Heart, a homeless-services center just a few blocks south.

That's often the job at HOPE food pantry, a staple of hunger assistance in Englewood: helping someone, or helping them find help.

“I can't think of a day that goes by when someone doesn't come off the streets, or a family living in a car, who doesn't need clothes or blankets,” said McHenry, operations director at HOPE.

After years of hard-fought progress — and need that shows no signs of slowing down — the nonprofit that feeds hundreds each week is closing at the end of this month.

“It's been heartbreaking, of course, to come to the realization that because of finances, we just cannot operate,” said McHenry, standing behind the counter on the thrift store side of HOPE's building.

But the nonprofit, which opened its current location at 3940 S. Broadway in January 2015, will live on — not in “brick-and-mortar” form, McHenry said, but as a foundation.

Amid what staff members call a stiff donation climate during Colorado's population boom and cost-of-living increases, HOPE was making headway, but the progress just wasn't enough.

At one time, HOPE had a single benefactor, a company that largely funded the nonprofit, along with a handful of individual donors. But that support went away in 2016, and HOPE had to adjust.

“We pursued the Goodwill model,” said Bart Sayyah, HOPE's executive director, explaining the nonprofit's revenue was mostly generated through its thrift store. “We were able to quintuple our revenue, but we couldn't get there” to sustainability in the past two years.

Amid cost of living increases and upped population, HOPE has seen more and more people in need since opening the current location, but monetary donations haven't offered enough support, McHenry said.

“People are just unsure right now due to cost of living and other factors in people's lives,” McHenry said. “I'm aware of nonprofits not only in Englewood but in Colorado, they're more challenged than ever before.”

On a typical week, the pantry serves about 200 households. The vast majority are working families, and about 20 percent are homeless, said Robin Sturgis, HOPE's food program director.

“We've served thousands” in the nonprofit's history, McHenry said, which dates back to 2001. “The heartbreaking thing is people will still be in need.”

HOPE owns its own building — escaping the high rents that have roiled other nonprofits in the metro area's Broadway corridor, according to Sayyah — and the windfall from selling the facility will total several hundred thousand dollars.

“We'll use those monies to dole out a certain percentage each year to whatever we decide is our core target,” Sayyah said, adding the focus will likely be on Englewood and possibly the south Denver area. “Homelessness is a huge thing, and also hunger relief. Those two are my personal interests.”

HOPE already supported some other nonprofits, passing along coats and hats, Sayyah said. The building itself offered a warm atmosphere where people experiencing homeless were welcomed — sometimes with hugs.

It's about “being kind and respectful,” McHenry said. “People want to be validated and respected for where they're at. I'm very proud of HOPE for that.”

Of all the thousands the nonprofit has helped, McHenry hopes people can “pay it forward.”

“To be kind,” McHenry said. “That can be powerful.”

Comments

Our Papers

Ad blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.