DENVER (KDVR) — Inside the Salvation Army Harbor Light Center, James Prunty’s kitchen is always busy.
The culinary director is in charge of planning, cooking, and packaging more than 1,000 meals every day to help those in need.
But this week has been unlike anything Prunty has ever seen.
“I know we’ve been busy,” he said. “But not like now.”
Prunty has been preparing hundreds of extra meals every single day for hundreds of migrants now arriving in Denver.
Those migrants, arriving from Central and South America, are often arriving with little more than the clothes on their backs.
“It’s a good feeling,” said Prunty, “because I know I’m helping somebody out there that couldn’t have a meal.”
But the extra work is beginning to put a strain on the charitable organization, which has had to hire extra staff to prepare the meals.
“It’s very hard,” said Kristen Baluyot. “These are extra meals that had not been budgeted that we need to provide.”
Baluyot is the Denver Metro Social Services director for the Salvation Army and said the unpredictable nature of the migrant influx has made things especially difficult.
“We’re already overloaded and stretched quite thin,” she said. “So this is something that is quite concerning because we don’t have the capacity to take people in.”
This comes as Denver officials issue a plea to the federal government for more resources and funding.
The city has reopened its Emergency Operations Center to try and deal with the sudden influx.
“This is different because migrants come to our community with a different set of problems,” said Baluyot. “They’re still unhoused, but the trauma, the life experiences, the connections they have here are very different.”
Baluyot said they have no plans to stop assisting, even if it continues to put a strain on resources.