Our delivery story began even before we reached our intended destination. We had arrived early and were sitting in the car. I was checking e-mail correspondence and Hal was reading the morning paper. A homeless woman tapped on the car window. She was clutching an army surplus jacket she hoped to sell because she was hungry. I got out of the car so we could talk face-to-face.
Annie was coherent and conversational. I encouraged her to purchase breakfast with the money I offered her. She told me she had moved to Denver after her son committed suicide almost a year ago. Annie cried as she described the details of his death. Her tears unleashed a deep well of grief. She shared her battle with cervical cancer, the challenge daily life presents, and her struggle to hold onto hope. When the time came that I had to leave for our official delivery appointment, Annie and I gave each other a final hug. It was a poignant prelude to the morning’s official delivery.
Catholic Charities Denver/Samaritan House serves 600 people like Annie every single night: homeless single women and men, women with children, couples and families. Every bed is assigned to someone based on a lottery system. For every bed filled there are another 25-35 people like Annie who had hoped it would be theirs. That means thousands of individuals apply for a bed and none is available. Every single night. Each one of those individuals seeking simple shelter knows intimately the meaning of the phrase, “no room in the inn.”
For those individuals fortunate enough to secure a bed at Catholic Charities, there are more than 30 service programs available to them, including: counseling (health, pregnancy, adoption, family & marriage, employment, education); confidential therapy; child care; immunization and wellness check-ups; physical and dental exams; hearing and vision screenings; development skills screening; mental health and disabilities services for special-needs children; adult education and job training.
Catholic Charities is dedicated to providing “compassion, healing, and hope for the poor and those in need.” They help families and individuals “find a path to self-sufficiency.” Their track record is impressive. Last year alone 226 residents secured employment; 96% of single residents and 86% of families left Samaritan House with an income source; and over 50% of their residents moved into stable housing. For additional information, go to www.ccdenver.org/samaritanhouse.
Our delivery today of 150 shawls and 150 scarves continues our work of crafting hope, healing and peace globally and locally. We continue knitting together the Beloved Community, one delivery and one person at a time. For people like Annie every delivery makes a big difference.
Susan McKee and Hal Simmons
Founder/Executive Director and Operations Manager
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