The city of Aurora’s only “soup kitchen” serves 30,000 people a year – but, they are now facing a possible move after the building where they’ve been for decades has been put up for sale.
The Friends of St. Andrews Hospitality Center has been in the building on Dallas Street since 1986. Before that, the space was a police department, fire department, the courthouse and the jail over the course of its life, according to program director Siobhan Latimer.
“We started because the need was in this area and that has not changed over 32 years,” Latimer said.
The kitchen runs with the help of 80 volunteers like Susie Campbell. She’s been with the group for seven years to help provide daily hot meals.
“We invite them into our home and we try to make them feel comfortable,” Campbell said.
The hospitality center was started by the parishioners of Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Aurora.
Their goal is to help with the need on East Colfax Avenue by providing food baskets, and helping with IDs and job assistance. They even provide a mailing address where those who are homeless can receive mail.
“People in the neighborhood that might have homes, they might be living in their cares, and they might be on the street,” Latimer said.
People like Jack Marquardt, who visits every month.
“I was homeless and then I got off the streets,” Marquardt said, “I remembered the soup kitchen here so I associated with it.”
The man who previously owned the building left it to Regis University and said he wanted it sold to pay for scholarships. Regis told Next they deeply respect the work done by the hospitality center, but they felt they had to honor the donor's wishes.
Latimer said the soup kitchen will continue even if its location has to move.
“We would love to stay here but if we can’t, then we would like to move somewhere very close because we’re in the area where the need is,” Latimer said.