By Tori Mason

DENVER (CBS4) – As Colorado’s unemployment numbers rise, so does the amount of food insecurity. With Thanksgiving days away, the number of cars lined up to receive grocery items at Ball Arena in Denver nearly doubled. The Denver Dream Center, in partnership with Kroenke Sports Charities, helped put food on the table for more than 1,000 families Friday morning.

(credit: CBS)

“We had people lining up at 6 in the morning, waiting for 3 hours to get in before we opened up. Just to get food and resources,” said Bryan “Pastor B” Sederwall, Executive Director of the Denver Dream Center.

The Denver Dream Center normally does outreach and rehabilitation, but when the pandemic hit, they shifted their focus. The organization has fed more than 300,000 people since April. Food donations total more than 2.6 million pounds.

“I can’t tell you how many people show up with tears. They just needed to know somebody cares and a food box goes a long way to do that,” said Sederwall.

In addition to food boxes, Kroenke Sports Charities donated 700 turkeys to give away Friday. Kroenke Sports & Entertainment team mascots, alumni and staff were among the dozens of volunteers who gave their time to give back.

“We know that people are planning for Thanksgiving and for the holidays, so Kroenke brought out their teams and their mascots. They brought out extra to make it a party in the parking lot! Socially distanced, of course,” said Sederwall.

(credit: CBS)

Around Ball Arena were signs of hope, a morning so full of thanks that couldn’t wait until the holiday.

“It puts food on my table for once. We’re blessed to have people like this to help us out in a time of need,” said Valerie Rodriguez, a restaurant worker whose hours were cut as the industry is crippled once again by COVID-19 restrictions.

Support from donors also included Food Bank of the Rockies, Red Rocks Church, Kitchen One For One, Meadow Gold Dairies, Torchy’s Tacos, Legends Hospitality, Comfort Dental, Delta Dental and more.

The need for food isn’t going away anytime soon. This is the Dream Center’s last giveaway until next month. Like many of the other giving organizations around town, they’re in need of donations. That could be donations of food, money or even your time.

For information on how to help visit denverdreamcenter.org.

Tori Mason

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