COLORADO SPRINGS — A group of neighbors is working to get a new organization off the ground. Step Up in El Paso is making it easy for those who want to step up and give to connect with people in need.
“A little bit of kindness goes a long ways,” said Jeremy Pavlik, founder of Step Up in El Paso. “Pretty much all we wanna do is bring a smile to someone’s face who maybe doesn’t have anything to smile about.”
It’s a community collaboration to give the homeless population in the Pikes Peak Region a step up.
“You just drive past that guy you see on the side of the road and you don’t give him a second thought, or what he’s going through, or where he slept last night, or when was the last time he had a meal,” said Pavlik.
Pavlik is using his experience, hoping to spark change and inspire other to help homeless in the community.
“I was homeless here on the streets of Colorado Springs and I remember making a shelter in the winter and not having something to eat or warm clothes,” said Pavlik. “That’s the one thing I needed was a little bit of help to get my life back on track. And that’s all a lot of these people need is just a helping hand or a step up.”
That’s why he’s starting Step Up in El Paso. There’s a Facebook page you can join to see future events.
It’s just a group of neighbors who are donating time and volunteering to give back on the streets on El Paso County. A Facebook post got the ball rolling and brought the group together to put on the first Step Up El Paso community event.
“You see the joy here. And that’s what it’s about, giving back to people,” said Audrey Pacheco, a volunteer with the group.
Pacheco, along with other volunteers, baked home goods and made sandwiches. The group was handing out everything from snacks and water to warm clothes and put together 100 bags filled with food, warm items and hygiene products to give out.
“Not just give away things, but to actually sit and listen, it means a lot to them. And to us because we’re learning about our community,” said Pacheco. “People are so gracious and so grateful. We just want to help.”
“We didn’t ask for a penny in all this. We didn’t want any money, we only wanted donations of stuff that would help somebody that’s going through a situation that’s less fortunate than we are,” said Pavlik.
Pavlik says kindness is contagious and he hopes more people will join in this effort to give back to people in the community who are most vulnerable.
“Hopefully this builds some momentum and builds into something we can get a lot of people from the community donating their time or just getting involved,” said Pavlik.
“COVID has really changed the culture and so many more people are homeless. And they need really our help. So for those of us that can give, I encourage you all please, please give. And give generously,” said Pacheco.
Step Up in El Paso is trying to do these on-the-streets give away events several times a year moving forward. To connect with the group, call 719-644-4387 or find them on Facebook.
“We just want to give back and help someone out and show them some kindness. And let them know there are people out there that care and they’re not forgotten about,” said Pavlik.