Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Helping to feed the homeless after holiday - The Denver Post

Helping to feed the homeless after holiday - The Denver Post

The idea of feeding hamburgers and hot dogs to the homeless in Lower Downtown on Sunday was born at Nicol Ocampo's kitchen table three weeks ago, but the story goes back much further.

Her husband, Mike Nowlin, told her how his family used to buy stacks of hamburgers and hand them out to the homeless they encountered on the street.

"I told him my family had never had the money to do that," said Nicol, 34, as she took burger and hot dog orders from disheveled men a block from the Denver Rescue Mission.

"We're not rich now, by any means, but we have enough," she said.

For Mike, 29, it wasn't merely an act of kindness.

"My Uncle Danny — Danny Ortega — was homeless," he said. "He committed suicide in 1996."

After a long pause, he added: "Sometimes, it's not that their families give up on them. It's that they give up on themselves."

Mike started his own business, Mile High Towing & Recovery, two years ago with three secondhand trucks.

Mike and Nicol, the company's chief financial officer, surveyed their books and took out $1 for each impounded car or call for roadside assistance.

That was more than just a gesture for the couple, who have seven children.

They spent the money on supplies: 240 hamburgers, 260 hot dogs, buns, 300 cookies and 300 bags of chips.

At daylight Sunday, the sound of sizzling burgers filled their kitchen, as a George Foreman Grill and two large frying pans went full-bore.

Mike's top driver and manager, George Garcia, boiled hot dogs at his house and brought along his children to help prepare plates.

They acted with extraordinary politeness, looking the men in the eyes when they spoke and calling each one "Sir."

Gordon Thomas, 57, released from prison a month ago, said he probably would not have eaten until dinnertime at a shelter.

"It's very gracious," he said. "And I'm grateful to them. I would guess they're God-loving people."

Gerard Pelletier, 33, said the families' timing, after the Thanksgiving celebrations are over, spoke volumes.

"Everybody cares on Thanksgiving and Christmas," he said. "But when you're homeless, you're hungry every day... I thank these people for caring."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If you want food in Denver, there are enough places to get food every day of the week. Our church Open Door Fellowship, serves a meal each Sunday evening. They cannot be drunk and must behave themselves and listen to the sermon, but then suburban churches from Highlands Ranch and Castle Rock come every Sunday and serve them a hot meal. A van comes to the parking lot, run by the Adventists, and serves a meal on Tuesday, as well as gives medical care. Another church has two meals at ODF on Saturdays. mpc