Oct 11, 2011 7:34 PM by Andy Koen

Telmosse giveaway needs a space

For decades the Bob Telmosse Giveaway has been a place for families in the Pikes Peak region to get a Christmas dinner and new toys for their kids, free of charge, no questions asked. But this year organizers are wondering exactly where that place will be.

With so many vacant commercial properties on the market, board member Carol Reinert says they didn't think it would be a problem.

"But what we've found is that a lot are in foreclosure so they won't rent them to us and a lot they're still holding off hoping they can rent or sell prior to the holidays," Reinert explained.

Part of the trouble is finding a big enough space. Reinert says the number of families they serve has doubled in recent years.

The Pikes Peak United Way has also noticed that increase. Michelle Milner, manager of the 211 directory service says more people than ever need help making ends meet, especially when it comes to paying utility bills.

The federal government recently cut the Low Income Energy Assistance Program by 35 percent and raised income levels to make up for the loss.

"We're going to see probably anywhere between 2,200 and 5,000 people who qualified for LEAP last year who will no longer qualify this year due to the changes," Milner said.

She adds that events like the Best Christmas Ever and the Telmosse Giveaway can really help to fill those gaps.

"Sometimes these agencies can be one stop shopping for everything," Milner said.
Both groups are currently accepting donations and looking for volunteers. As for finding a space to hold the Telmosse giveaway, Reinert isn't worried.

"I remember back in the day sitting with Bob two weeks before, in a panic, wondering where it was going to be, it has never failed us we have always found place," she said.

Steve Bigari and Jim Fenlason, the founder and board president of the Best Christmas Ever will talk about plans for their event at a news conference on Wednesday at Mr. Biggs.


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