Church sees uptick in free meal recipients as mountain towns struggle to get enough snow

BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. -- Volunteers serving free meals on Tuesdays estimate they're now feeding 200 people in the resort and tourism industry because ski resorts aren't operating at full strength because of the lack of snow.

Nancy French has organized the program at St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church in Breckenridge for five years.

She said the number of people attending their free meal program on Tuesday nights has increased significantly. Ski resorts and businesses don't have enough snow or enough visitors right now so some employees aren't working enough hours to make ends meet.

"When the paychecks don’t come, because there aren’t jobs yet because not all the mountain is open," said French, "this is a necessity for them. This is the very thing that gets them through."

Cole Maenzs is a ski lift operator and said hours are scarce right now.

"It means we’re struggling to eat. I haven’t missed a free meal since we started because it’s a big break for all of us," said Maenzs.

He's grateful to volunteers providing free meals.

"That's what everyone looks forward to," said Maenzs. "Everyone is struggling because things need to be opened and they can’t do it."

"We just keep them alive long enough to make their own way and that’s what it’s all about," said French.

The program runs year-round every Tuesday night at the church on French Street. The church's rector said the church always welcomes cash and food donations to help the program continue to run.