Mary Rose’s Story

Photo left to right: Marion Kalb of Hunger Free Colorado, AICS’s Executive Director Judy Barrow, and Mary Rose

By Mary Rose

I came from Texas where we used to give fast food and small bottles of water and turkeys at Thanksgiving to people on the street. I did not expect to become homeless, but after my partner Vince lost his job in California and his company suggested that he travel to South Dakota, we became stranded in Wyoming and then the jobs were filled. So we ended up living in our car in Colorado, while Vince found work in construction, I sat in the car looking for shelter or jobs on our phone or trying to find a Laundromat. The only place to wash was the truck stop, and at night we sat in the car in a Park-n-Ride or had to move from convenience store parking lots.

We found a list of food banks and I called them all day. We visited AICS for groceries; someone gave us money for gas and frozen chicken! We later found a room through personnel at AICS. I did not want to sit in the room, so I came in to volunteer. That led to my being accepted in the Senior Community Services Employment Program which provides paid job training for people 55+.

I am a receptionist here at AICS and some days are challenging because the cases here pull at my heart. I want to help everyone and know that I can’t. I do talk to people who are homeless and tell them where I was a year ago and that they can move on as well. Vince and I now have our own apartment. AICS has helped us and I am happy that I can help others such as the man who came with his son and was looking for a room yesterday.

Because of my experiences at AICS, I was confident enough to accompany AICS’s Executive Director, Judy Barrow, and Marion Kalb of Hunger Free Colorado, when they went to the state house in Denver to speak about poverty.