October 2014 Posts

A day in the life

Just another day at the office…


This year, with the creative genius of our videographer, Justin Rounds of Switch 10 Productions, we collaborated on a TV commercial that grabs viewers’ attention.

A few weeks ago we filmed the commercial. I had the opportunity to meet Nicolete and Troy. Two people who have differing thoughts on Thanksgiving.


We all have opinions, emotions and memories surrounding Thanksgiving. Some people are thrilled with cooking, family and traditions, while others are indifferent toward the holiday.

Does anyone really know why we eat turkey? (Well, me neither!) For some of the people who come to Denver Rescue Mission for a meal, it can be the difference between hope and despair. A welcoming smile. A hearty plate of food. A safe place. Those basic things can give someone the desire to change their current situation. It happened for Todd, as you are about to see. Todd is the third person in the video. He is a graduate of the New Life Program.

Compassion + Dignity | Two Meager and Powerful Offerings

Written by Amy Lynch, Mission employee

I opened the door to my office and audibly sighed, Lord, what did you get me into? My eyes scanned the file drawer bulging with unorganized pamphlets, a desk littered with bits of paper, all covered with notes from ladies that have stayed here overnight. I read a few:

Sally snores really loud at night, can you talk to her?

The tile is loose by the shower, I stubbed my toe this morning, NOT ACCEPTABLE.

I set the papers down. I heard a knock at the door. It was my only program participant, oxygen tank in hand, “You Amy?” she asked me. “Yes, nice to meet you, I heard so much about you,” I extended my hand to her, she took it limply. “Um, I just wanted to let you know that I am leaving the program today, I need to grab my things.” Thus began my first day as Women’s Program Manager at Fort Collins Rescue Mission.

After she left I walked through the women’s dorm, praying silently, touching a bunk where a homeless woman would find shelter that night, straightening a mirror along the way, smelling a flower someone had placed in a mason jar by the sign-in sheet.


God, can I do this?

I was at loss of even where to start….and then I was reminded of the power of compassion and dignity. This was where I could start. I wasn’t sure yet of the specific intervention to use, the classes I would begin to teach, the resources I would reach out to, but I did have access to those two meager and powerful offerings.

And that is how we have begun; offering compassion and dignity, extending opportunities for security and the room to try something DIFFERENT, teaching that even small changes have the power to alter a pattern.

The women’s program has low numbers, but the women who grace my caseload are mighty. I have had the honor to see women challenge a destructive thought, begin the journey of writing a resume, create a budget for the first time in their lives, and giggle as they try a new Pilates exercise.

Some days are harder than others. Sometimes they take a step forward only to take three back. Some days those meager and powerful offerings of compassion and dignity are difficult to administer. Yet, we return to a new day, we try the challenge one more time, and life moves forward. Even in a shelter, the women throw birthday parties for one another, hug one another when the days are rough, fill out a crossword puzzle to help ground themselves so they can stay another day in a safe place and not on the street.

Although, not so long ago, that first day I walked through the Mission’s doors seems a life time ago. We have begun a series of Life Skills classes, including emotional awareness, financial planning, community resourcing, and job readiness. We have included a nutritional track and have a wonderful intern who plans and prepares bi-weekly meals with our participants. We have begun to sharpen our case management skills to meet the needs of our ladies the best we can. We have also begun to extend our program to women re-entering society from prison in hopes of reducing recidivism and decreasing traumatic decisions.

And when we don’t know the right words to say, or the correct approach to take, I recall those meager and powerful gifts of compassion and dignity, and they serve us well, the women and me.

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When work becomes mundane

Monday through Friday my alarm is set for 5:00 a.m. After a few snoozes, I wake up, go for a walk, read Jesus Calling, drink coffee, make lunches, get ready for work, fight traffic (I loathe traffic), and start my day at the Mission.

I love my job, but like most jobs, the routines and work itself can become mundane.

Working in public relations for the Mission is pretty exciting, but there are days that you just stare at a computer monitor. And that isn’t my cup of tea, so I am intentional to find ways to refresh.

I say all of this to you because last week I was feeling tired and a little overwhelmed at work. So, I went to the Mission’s volunteer site and signed up to volunteer at The Crossing.

Nothing refreshes you like service. Find ways to serve – whether at the Mission or another organization. I promise you will feel refreshed.

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New series, but first blankets


More on the new series next week because right now, we have a great need.

The temperatures are dropping and the heat is going up – at least at my house.  You see, the reality is many people right here in Denver don’t have the luxury of turning up the heat or pulling out blankets to stay warm. For whatever reason, they are homeless or in some cases they have a home. Turning up the heat or snuggling up with that blanket is indeed a luxury for many.

The Mission is partnering with the city again this year for the winter emergency shelter. Last night, we held a neighborhood meeting, but with the rainy evening, no one showed up.

The e-shelter is starting next Tuesday. We are in desperate need of blankets for 150+ men who will come to sleep here each night.

We made it easy! Donate blankets using our Amazon Wish List or drop off new or gently used blankets at the Lawrence Street Shelter (Park Ave. & Lawrence).

Winter Emergency Shelter










27 degrees Fahrenheit

That was the reading on the farm thermometer a weekend in early September. As the weekend progressed, the leaves of our garden produce began to curl up and wither. By the time Monday came around and we all came back to work, almost all of our warm season crops – the pumpkins, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, sweet corn, beans and peas – were all in varying stage of decay. Dead.


Obviously, the early hard frost was most discouraging to our garden crew here at Harvest Farm. This group of men spent the majority of their summer working the soil, prepping the ground, starting seeds in the greenhouse and then transplanting them out into the garden beds. After the plants began to grow and eventually thrive, these same men spent countless hours weeding, watering, and then weeding some more so that the plants could grow in the most ideal conditions possible. Volunteers came and joined them for much of the summer, groups large and small, young and old, all working for the common purpose of keeping the plants alive and flourishing. Since we refuse to use any sort of chemical treatments for weed or pest control in our garden, this is full-time undertaking, and every hand we could find was welcomed and appreciated.  We were looking good.

But then a storm rolled in, a cold front that had lingered on the other side of the divide and then swooped down on us when we were all sleeping. We didn’t expect it to get so frigid. But even if we did see it coming, there is no way to cover almost two acres in down comforters. We were at the mercy of the weather and its capricious moods up here in Northern Colorado, as we always are, as all farmers are. When hail comes, there’s nothing we can do. When the wind whips up and drives down from the northwest out of Wyoming, there is nothing we can do. When no rain comes, when the reservoirs are low, there is nothing we can do. All we can do is accept what happens and decide how to best move forward. And that’s what we have been doing – what we always do.

The extent of the damage from that storm was bad, but I wasn’t surprised. This is Northern Colorado, after all. But I felt disheartened for the guys, for the men who put so much hard work into making this garden – their garden – into what is was. It seemed like a waste to have it all gone, just like that. But instead of wallowing in what we lost, we decided to talk about what survived, about what remained strong in spite of the weather. Looking over the shriveled land, we saw the lettuce greens, the spinach, the garlic, the squash and kale and Brussels sprouts and potatoes and tomatillos and carrots that were in great shape. We were excited to use it in the Farm’s kitchen and to send it to our numerous friends in the community. I took a bite of a freshly pulled carrot and tasted the incomparable flavor of soil and sweetness that supermarkets deprive us of. Suddenly, there seemed nothing to complain about.

There is a profound value to be found in a process, in the beauty of good work, even if the final goal somehow eludes us.