Utah's homeless enjoy Labor Day picnic

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Holidays are a time to celebrate, and the Salt Lake City Mission helped the homeless do that Monday with its annual Labor Day picnic at Pioneer Park.

In a rough economy, volunteers saw a lot of new faces.

"I like it cause there's lots of kids and my friends," said Marcelino Dye, a picnic attendee. "There's playgrounds, so it's really fun for me."

For the 17th year, the Salt Lake City Mission provided a warm meal, clothing and words of encouragement to the Salt Lake City's homeless.

It's just kind of nice to come out and pretend like you're any normal family, you know? Get hot dogs, eat picnic food, come out and let the kids play.

–Angela Kluge

"There's actually more families showing up down here, women showing up, children showing up," said Brad Jaques with the mission.

In fact, more than 2,500 people showed up.

"I think the economy affected a lot of people," Jaques said. "There's people that you normally wouldn't see down here."

Angela Kluge and her six children led a pretty normal life until a couple of months ago, when her husband's construction work dried up with the economy.

"Life was good," she said. "Same as everybody else, paying our bills and getting things done.

After living in a shelter for the past month, she says the picnic was a welcomed relief for her family.

"It's just kind of nice to come out and pretend like you're any normal family, you know?" Kluge said. "Get hot dogs, eat picnic food, come out and let the kids play."

Jaques says it's important for those who are struggling to have something to celebrate.

"Days like today on a holiday, people need to know somebody really cares," he said. "By coming down here and feeding them and encouraging them, I think it brings back a hope to them that they wouldn't have otherwise."

To volunteer with the Salt Lake City Mission, CLICK HERE. To make a donation, CLICK HERE.

E-mail: cmikita@ksl.com


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Carole Mikita


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