Lawrence Street Community Center Posts

1,000 Happier Feet This Easter

Easter Banquet Banner

As the Denver Rescue Mission staff member who oversees all of our events and corporate engagement, one of the best parts of my job is getting to see the greater community of the Denver area come together to make a difference in the lives of our guests and program participants. Hands down, my favorite event that I get to be a part of is our annual Easter Celebration.

The Easter Celebration is all about restoring a sense of dignity to men and women by providing a holiday meal and a clean pair of socks and shoes. In addition to a new pair of shoes, they enjoye an Easter chapel service, a traditional Easter meal and the opportunity to have their feet washed and examined by a podiatrist. This year we were fortunate to distribute nearly 1,000 pairs of shoes.

Easter Banquet 2017 Shoes

Our Easter Celebration wouldn’t be possible this year (or any other year for that matter) if it weren’t for our corporate partners like Runners Roost Denver and New Balance. As ambassadors of the local running community, perhaps no one understands the value of clean socks and new shoes like the teams at Runners Roost and New Balance. They have served and partnered with us on multiple occasions for our Easter Celebration. Each year, they are willing to not only donate shoes, but also to come and serve at the event to help distribute the shoes to our guests.

I have been honored to work with Runners Roost and New Balance in previous years. I’m always struck by their graciousness, willingness to say ‘yes’, desire to serve those in need and just how “on the ball” they are in regards to communication, efficiency and partnering with us. It’s so awesome to me that these companies believe in: our community; providing and restoring dignity to those Denver Rescue Mission serves; and building community in their own organizations through service opportunities like these.

 

If you are a part of a company or your company is looking to partner with an organization to help make a lasting change in the lives of those in need, please reach out to me at JLittlejohn@denrescue.org. Let’s start the conversation and see what kind of change we can make together!

A Beautiful Cloudy Day

My wife woke up the other morning and opened the window exclaiming, “Oh, what a beautiful, cloudy day!”

Since Colorado gets nearly 300 days of sunshine a year—even though that’s technically kind of a myth—I could see what she meant. It’s not often that we get an overcast day. Even in the winter, the sky can be a brilliant blue with warm sun taking the edge off the biting cold.

Regardless, her comment made me laugh. “Only someone from up-state New York would say something like that,” I replied.

Now it was her turn to laugh. The weather around her parents’ house in up-state New York is often gloomy, especially this time of year. The gray shadow of rolling clouds is something my wife grew up with, so today reminded her of home. And as she put it, “The cloudy days make you appreciate the sunny ones.”

All I can think of when I look out my office window at the gray wall hiding the Front Range is how many people have to struggle in this cold outside on the street. Thousands of people have to face Denver’s winters alone. While I’m looking forward to a soft blanket of snow and snowboarding in the mountains, I also know this time of year brings more struggles to people in need than most other times of the year.

Thankfully, our homeless neighbors are not without options. The Mission’s Lawrence Street Community Center offers people a safe, drug- and alcohol-free place to be during the day and warm meals among other services. And men experiencing homelessness can find shelter each night in our 315 beds and about 300 additional mats at the emergency overflow location.

Denver Rescue Mission :: Lawrence Street Community Center

Denver Rescue Mission :: Lawrence Street Community Center

In fact, we serve nearly 1,000 unique individuals at the community center every day with meals, laundry services, restrooms and an encouraging environment.

So, as the snow flies and we bundle up against the cold, take a moment on a beautiful, cloudy day to remember those who are struggling to get back on their feet. And remember the staff and program participants at Denver Rescue Mission as well. We rely on supporters like you to help provide life-saving services to people in need. Without all of your love, faith, volunteer hours, donations and continuous encouragement, we wouldn’t be able to open warm and welcoming arms to the most vulnerable people in our city. Thank you for making it all possible.

75,000 Meals and Counting At Our New Lawrence Street Community Center

By Guest Author: Kevin Hein, Lawrence Street Community Center Supervisor

After a long period of faithful waiting, we’re amazed at what’s happened so quickly since our new Lawrence Street Community Center opened. In just seven weeks, we’ve hosted two Holiday Banquets and served more guests than ever in our new expanded dining room.

Our new Lawrence Street Community Center dining area seats 275 people

Our new Lawrence Street Community Center dining room holds more than 300 people

During our legal challenges surrounding the community center last fall, I remember someone asking me…”Kevin, are people going to come visit this space when we open?” My answer was, “Of course they will!” Nobody, however, could have anticipated the surprising amount of guests that we’ve welcomed and served in this newly forming community.

We officially opened our doors on November 23, 2015 for our first lunch service and since then we’ve seen overwhelming use of our facility and a strong feeling of community forming.

A guest enjoys a warm meal at our fully ADA accessible center

A guest enjoys a warm meal at our fully ADA accessible center

Physical needs provided to-date:

  • 75,000+ meals have been served (averaging more than 1,500 meals every day)
  • More than 3,300 unique guests have visited our center
  • Protection from inclement weather, which was especially important during the December cold snaps
  • Overwhelming use of our 13 bathroom stalls

Spiritual, emotional and communal support developing:

  • Guests are finding new purpose as they care for themselves, others and our space
  • Our staff create community and purposeful relationships every day with those in need
  • We’re building character through group devotions, bible studies, women’s group, arts & crafts and other activities that get our guests involved
  • With the increased capacity at our new center, more men and women are learning about our life-changing programs and starting on a path to a new future

We feel blessed to do life with those in need and our new Lawrence Street Community Center has provided even more opportunities to form important bonds and change lives. Yet, we are often heartbroken by the overwhelming population of those experiencing deep brokenness and poverty here in Denver. As part of our Mission family, we ask that you please continue to pray for our new center and for all of our guests – that they all would discover the new and abundant life found through faith in Jesus Christ.