COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The departure of an Old Chicago restaurant from its longtime downtown Colorado Springs location has affected the status of a Christmas meal for hundreds of low-income guests.
Partly because of the restaurant failing to agree on a new lease with the Tejon Street building owner, the "Miracle on Tejon" event will not be held on Christmas Day.
The celebration has been held for nine years at the former Old Chicago location, but the restaurant said after moving out, there wasn't enough time to adequately plan an event.
Additionally, participating sponsors backed out, the restaurant said, because they wanted the event to remain downtown and felt that moving the it to other Old Chicago locations would have been too far for guests to travel.
"These are charitable acts," said Travis Williams, of the Springs Rescue Mission. "That doesn't mean they're going to happen or be able to continue year after year. So we're thankful for when things are able to happen."
The restaurant is currently deciding how to organize the event in future years, and Old Chicago donated $8,000 budgeted for the event to local charitable groups.
"It may take on a different look," said Todd Wyatt, Old Chicago's regional manager. "We may opt to do it on Easter or Thanksgiving. But there will be a 'Miracle' somewhere in Colorado Springs next year for sure."
Wyatt said as many as 600 people in some years but recently attendance dropped to around 300 last year.
There are six other community dinners scheduled for this weekend.
The Springs Rescue Mission will host a dinner Saturday from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the City Auditorium in downtown Colorado Springs. Transportation by the mission is available.
The Salvation Army will sponsor dinners Sunday from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. at its center on 908 Yuma St. in Colorado Springs; Manitou Springs Town Hall, 606 Manitou Ave.; Fountain Valley Senior Center, 5745 Southmoor Drive in Fountain; and at the Woodland Park Church of the Nazarene, 750 North Highway 67.
The Marian House Soup Kitchen will host a dinner at its facility in downtown Colorado Springs from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday.
Also on Sunday, The Edge Church and Ecumenical Social Ministries will conduct a giveaway for the homeless at 324 North Nevada Ave. Sleeping bags, toiletries and fresh fruit are among the items to be distributed.