November 2014 Posts

Lawrence Street Community Center Approved

Praise the Lord!

The  Zoning Appeal Board met this week and approved the building of the Lawrence Street Community Center.

We are so excited to have a safe place for the homeless during the day. A place where their human dignity can be restored. Where they can have access to simple things like bathrooms, water, and showers. They will not have to “hang out” on the streets or in alleys.

The community center will also help our employees build and foster relationships allowing us to connect people to services. It will be a pathway to becoming  productive self-sufficient citizens.

Our goal is to see lives changed and we believe the Lawrence Street Community Center will not only allow us to be a part of God’s plan to do that, but will make our neighborhood a better place for everyone.

Demo 1

Demo 2

The PR Desk | Cleaning desks to provide meals

AlexxaLast week I had the opportunity to visit Eldorado Elementary in Highlands Ranch. The school hosted a turkey and canned food drive for Thanksgiving. They asked if we could come and talk to the kids at their assembly.

I have to say, speaking in front of kids is sometimes more intimidating than adults. But once my co-worker Jenn and I saw their smiling faces, the nerves went away. We talked about how the Mission helps people without homes and without food to eat. When we talked about how the Denver Broncos support us and event come volunteer, they were excited.

Eldorado ElementaryHere’s the part where I get emotional. Two students heard we were coming the week prior and decided they wanted to help. They offered to clean other students’ desks for a quarter each, with the intention of donating all the money to help people in need. (I know!) What amazing kids! I was blown away. They collected $10.05! We explained that they collected just enough money to feed five people a warm meaThank you Eldorado families for for thinking of others during this busy holiday season!l.
eldoradoschoolkidsThank you Eldorado families for for thinking of others during this busy holiday season.

The Holidays



I read this article from The Denver Post.

Since I started at the Mission, my thoughts about the holidays have shifted. I use to think that everyone loved the holidays, that everyone felt the little warm fuzzies from memories of Christmases past.

But then you have conversations. Real, honest conversations.

For the homeless and families living in poverty, the holidays seem to only emphasize their material poverty or bring up painful reminders.

But I really don’t think you have to be homeless or living in poverty to feel overwhelmed by the holidays.

Thanksgiving and Christmas are fast approaching. These days are filled with the opportunity to reflect on blessings, to give thanks, to experience the wonder and joy of our Savior. But then there’s the pressure of preparing a feast, going to parties, buying gifts (lots too).

 Here are some examples of holiday spending (taken from Bruce DeBoskey’s article)

• Just this year, U.S. shoppers spent $350 million on Halloween costumes for their pets.

• Americans just spent $7 billion on Halloween — more than the entire world spends each year on malaria prevention and treatment programs. More than 1,400 children die from malaria each day.

• The amount of money spent on candy alone during the holiday season is greater than the combined annual budgets of the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association and Habitat for Humanity.

• Each year, Americans spend more than $2.5 billion on wrapping paper, consuming tens of millions of trees and generating millions of tons of trash.

At the same time:

• More than one in four working families in Colorado do not have enough food to meet basic needs.

• Nearly one in seven Colorado seniors is sometimes unsure of getting a meal.

• In the U.S., 40 percent of food is wasted — the equivalent of $165 billion each year. Reducing this number by just 15 percent would provide enough food to feed more than 25 million Americans — and would dramatically reduce landfill methane emissions.

• In developing countries, a child born to a mother who can read is 50 percent more likely to survive past the age of 5.

Now, I don’t mean to damper the holidays. I really don’t. I enjoy purchasing gifts for others and gathering around the table with my family, friends and community. At the same time, let’s not lose sight of why we gather, why we celebrate, and let’s not forget the people around us who don’t have community, or resources to prepare a feast. Invite others to your table.

At the Mission, we have many ways to bless others during the holidays.

Thanksgiving: Donate a turkey. The turkeys will be distributed to men, women and families so they can, with dignity, prepare a meal. Turkeys will also be used to provide meals at the Mission.

Christmas: Adopt-A-Family: Bring hope and joy to a needy family this Christmas.

Donate blankets, socks, gloves, hats, and canned food items. Items can be dropped off here: 1130 Park Ave West, Denver.



The PR Desk | The Media

Alexxa and I work with Denver media a lot. We are asked to be on live t.v., come on air for the radio and sometimes we are asked to cook turkey-a-la-king.

This time of month, we are on t.v. more than usual. I actually just got back from taping with 7 News. I’ve done it so many time and always feel like I didn’t say what I should have, but honestly, it’s not about me. It’s not what I said, but how Denver, as a community, responds to our city’s need.

Without the media’s support, we wouldn’t have been able to collect 18,000 turkeys last year. They are crucial in helping us communicate this need.

These turkeys that you are donating mean more than doing something good. Your donations will provide thousands of men, women and families an opportunity to prepare their very own Thanksgiving meal. You are restoring dignity. You are bringing people to a table. You are letting our community know they matter.

Honestly, no matter how you feel about turkey. You know you are looking forward to gathering around with your community. Give that to someone else.





Home for the Holidays

home for the holidaysIt’s tough being away from family during the holidays. Actually it’s tough being away from family for all 365 days of the year, but the distance seems to sink in deeper around the holidays.

When my wife and I moved to Colorado neither of us anticipated the effect the distance would have on us, on our marriage, and now on our children. While there are a thousand and one great things about our life in Colorado, it’s always great to go “home.” When we can’t make it home for a holiday or family can’t make it to us, there’s always plenty of invitations from good friends, the kind that feel like family, to join their holiday celebrations.

This distance from “home” has had a compounded effect on me since beginning to work at the Lawrence Street Shelter. The things that I miss: the familiarity of family and traditions; the endless games of Spades; the leftovers. All of this seems to pale in comparison to the experiences that so many of my homeless friends and neighbors have during the holidays. The familiarity is gone; the traditions are left up to strangers; the games are few and far-between; and the leftovers – well, all they seem to get is left-overs. While my hope is that individuals feel cared for 365 days a year here at the shelter, I also want to give our them a sense of family – especially around the holidays.

As you prepare for your own holiday traditions this year; as you get together with family and friends; be mindful of those in your life that are distant from those they love – physically or relationally – and seek out ways to feel like family to them.


 Watch: What does Thanksgiving mean to you?