As snow blew in Wednesday night, homeless people on Colorado Springs sidewalks, hunkering along creeks and shuffling toward shelters, received blankets, bottles of water and food.
Members of a new group in town, Olympic City Young Professionals, sought to bring a little comfort to those in need.
The grassroots activity happened to coincide with the storm, said Jake Dagel, who formed the organization in October.
When Dagel, a real estate agent, moved to Colorado Springs from Iowa last September, he said he was surprised by the number of homeless people he saw on the streets.
“I was rather taken back by it,” he said. “We have a beautiful community that people all over the country are moving to, and to see so many homeless was really alarming.”
Crowdsourcing raised $250 to purchase the items that were handed out, Dagel said.
The goodwill gesture is one of many community service projects members are planning, the founder said.
Established for young adults, the group has about 20 members in their 20s and 30s, from industries encompassing real estate, travel, finance, legal, automotive, the arts and food and beverage.
“It’s great to meet other young people, network, grow your business, form genuine relationships and make new friends,” Dagel said.
Young professional adults are attracted to Colorado Springs for reasons that include the availability of outdoor activities, job openings and natural beauty.
Colorado Springs again ranked high on U.S. News and World Report’s list of “Best Places to Live” in 2020, coming in third. Desirability of the community, cost of living, job market, quality of life and migration are among the criteria studied.
Two like-minded organizations, Colorado Springs Young Professionals and Colorado Springs Rising Professionals, have been paused during the pandemic but plan to reboot once public health officials give the go-ahead for larger public gatherings.
Contract consultant Jon Severson formed the city’s flagship group for budding business types, Colorado Springs Young Professionals, 17 years ago. It was the first such organization west of the Mississippi.
He expanded the concept along the Front Range, from Pueblo to Denver.
The group is popular, Severson said, now reaching some 30,000 residents in Colorado Springs through social media platforms and activities, and 90,000 young adults statewide.
Local get-togethers normally draw 70 to more than 100 people, with events topping 400 participants, Severson said.
The group conducted a toy drive last fall for Christmas Unlimited with 15 drop-off locations and also raised donations for Westside Cares, a neighborhood food pantry and assistance center.
A full calendar of events is ready to go after pandemic restrictions lift, Severson said.
The organization had intended to launch groups in Castle Rock and Fort Collins last year, but the pandemic also put that on hold. Another group is forming in Trinidad, Severson said.
“I’m really excited for when we can start bringing people together again,” he said.
Rising Professionals, which also offers networking, peer-to-peer mentoring, start-up business training and community projects, provided a legislative update on Zoom in January and had offered a weekly virtual trivia league.
Founder Zachary Barker said in a video for the new year that the organization is anxious to resume more normal operations soon.
This content was originally published here.