What an Impactful Year

Sheri Disinfecting Rolling Suitcases

The movie, Elf, is unquestionably one of the greatest Christmas movies of all time. In a scene early in the movie, very early on Christmas morning after he has returned from his annual rounds, Santa congratulates the elves on another successful Christmas. As he concludes his pep-talk, he announces that it is time to get started on making toys for next year. And the elves enthusiastically start pounding away with their little toy-making hammers.

That’s how it feels here at Stigma. We had a very impactful year, but the work never ends, and we are excited to have an even bigger impact in 2021. Just yesterday morning, Monday, December 28th, we found five more rolling suitcases on our front porch that one of you donated. My daughter remarked that the donation came too late. I disagreed. I told her how excited I was to be getting the rolling suitcase and backpack drive for our homeless neighbors for Christmas 2021 off to such a great start!

The new year just brings new challenges. Let’s keep going!

And let’s have an even greater impact in the coming year than we had in 2020. If we are going to continue to crush the stigmas associated with addiction, hunger and homelessness, we’ve got to build on our success. So, here are some of the highlights on which we need to build.

Christmas in the Park: Thanks to your generous donations of both suitcases and money, we donated a grand total of 849 rolling suitcases and backpacks for our annual Christmas in the Park event to support our homeless neighbors. Thanks so much to all who participated. If you meant to contribute, but got caught up on the bustle of the holidays, please consider a donation now, as our efforts for next Christmas are already well underway!

Food for Hungry and Homeless Kids: We raised over $60,000 in 2020 to feed homeless and hungry Denver Public Schools children and their families. We used the money to develop relationships with local Colorado ranchers, farmers and produce suppliers. We are not just feeding hungry kids, we are supplying grass fed beef and fresh fruits and vegetables to families who are used to settling for canned, boxed and frozen convenience foods full of chemicals and sugars. We aren’t just filling bellies, we are breaking the cycle of sickness perpetuated by the standard American diet. This is a new way to attack the hunger problem, and we are thankful to you, our loyal Stigma Fighters, for helping us make it happen.

Fooding Cabinets and Neighborlies: In 2020, we assembled and distributed over 700 Neighborlies (emergency relief food bags) for our hungry and homeless neighbors. Thanks to all of you who helped with the distribution!

For our first project of 2021, we want to execute our plan to locate Fooding Cabinets (repurposed two-drawer filing cabinets) around town. We will stock the Fooding Cabinets with Neighborlies, and we need Stigma Fighters like you to help:

  • Adopt the Fooding Cabinets and keep them stocked and clean.
  • Help us find locations to place Fooding Cabinets.
  • Donate to help us order supplies for the Neighborlies.

Addiction Recovery and Prevention: We made incredible progress in 2020 in the area of addiction recovery and prevention. We have two programs called SHOUT Sobriety (for high-functioning alcoholics in early recovery) and Echoes of Recovery (for the loved ones of alcoholic). We built a significant audience for our Untoxicated Podcast and substantially increased the readership of our Sober and Unashamed blog. We also published our first book in 2020, titled soberevolution: Evolve into Sobriety and Recover Your Alcoholic Marriage. In addition, we launched four pilot versions of our new The Story Writing Workshops for people in recovery. The Story will be a major part of our story in 2021.

To learn more about any of our programs, please check the menu on our theStigma.org website. If you’d like to become more involved as a Stigma Fighter, please send us an email and let us know how you’d like to help: [email protected]. And if you’d like to make a fully tax deductible donation before the year end, we’d be eager to start the new year putting your money to very impactful work. Donate now.

For our programs at Stigma, 2020 was a most impactful year. We can’t wait to see what kind of change we can encourage in 2021, and we thank you, in advance, for your support!

Published by Matt Salis

Matt Salis is a high-functioning alcoholic in recovery who is working to end the stigma associated with addiction and related conditions such as homelessness and mental illness.