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Woman providing food, clothing for unhoused community in downtown Denver hopes to increase resources

Woman provides food and clothing for unhoused community in Downtown Denver twice a week
Posted at 4:42 PM, Apr 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-03 00:49:45-04

DENVER — Since the start of the pandemic, a Denver woman has felt compelled to help the unhoused community.

Since late December, Tara De La Fuente and her daughter have brought hot meals and clothing 2323 Curtis St. to provide for the unhoused. She has set up a stand there for one hour twice a week since then — Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4-5 p.m. Soon, she will start setting up at Benedict Fountain Park on Sundays from 4-5 p.m., she said.

It started as a mother-daughter project after hearing calls for social justice following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and evolved into a community service organization. She said it's a call to action for the community to step in with resources before the system has to.

Over several months in 2020, she noticed more people living in "tent city," De La Fuente said.

"(I) was noticing that the disparities in the homeless began increasing since COVID more than a year ago," she said. "We don't have affordable housing. We don't have safe indoor space for people to go to. The cost of living is only getting higher and higher in our community. Gentrification is real."

She said a big part of why she wants to help people who are unhoused stems from her spirituality and faith. She grew up in a rural area around Brush in northeast Colorado and her parents always taught her to give back, she said. Family has stayed important to her and she recognizes that some people who live on the street do not have any family, or don't have family that supports them.

De La Fuente said she wants her organization to show those people that they support them no matter what.

"They're humans and they need love," she said.

De La Fuente has enlisted the help of many volunteers to provide food, clothing and other items.

She said they work with a lot of people and local pantries. One of their biggest partners is Feeding Denver's Hungry. They welcome volunteers with De La Fuente to "shop" around their pantry and to either directly give out or cook and give out the food. She said Denver Inner City Parish also offers up a lot of food to them.

In addition, the public often donates food and money to help keep the organization going. The organization also has a drop-off location for donations at Marshdale General Store in Evergreen.

De La Fuente carries the bulk of those supplies in her small car.

Those who know about De La Fuente's volunteerism say she could use something bigger and more reliable, and they have tried to raise money for supplies and better transportation.

Fellow volunteer Jesse Vogel said De La Fuente's story really hit his heart. He created a GoFundMe page to help raise money for supplies and better transportation.

"I saw her being very kind to the homeless and going very out of her way to make an impact in their lives," Vogel said.

He said after witnessing her efforts week after week, a different car would help her out.

"Jesse thinks I need a van," De La Fuente said. "Even somebody else told me I needed a truck. So, I do believe having bigger transportation to help us get around the community and to support the community would be helpful."

But she's not quick to ask for help.

Vogel said that's why he stepped in.

As De La Fuente continues to provide full plates, the line for help continues to grow.

To help, De La Fuente's efforts, click the link below, or click here, and choose "Help Tara Feed Homeless" from the dropdown menu.

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