As we all do the right things, social distance and stay home as much as possible, the needs of our homeless neighbors are greater than ever.
We called for your help, and our Stigma volunteers delivered! You donated peanut butter, jelly, bread, and a whole bunch of pairs of socks for us to distribute in Civic Center Park this past Thursday. One of our loving neighbors even rallied her block to make sandwiches for us to distribute. The kindness and generosity was overwhelming!
“Take off your sunglasses and look them in the eyes. These people are never seen. More than anything else, our purpose today is to see them.” Reverend Jerry Herships shared those instructions with me and a group of volunteers the first time I helped out in Civic Center Park, and I’ll never forget those words.
The people suffering through homelessness in our city and across the country all face a stigma that largely leaves them without dignity. When we address them, when we serve them, by looking them in the eyes and showing human empathy, we make strides to end that very stigma.
We had so much fun serving our neighbors who needed us last month, so let’s do it again in March. We are recruiting Stigma volunteers to help us make and serve PB&J sandwiches in Civic Center Park in the heart of downtown Denver on Thursday, March 26th. Can you help us?
Our mission at Stigma is to help people heal from the shame of addiction, poverty and homelessness. Facing any of these challenges is difficult enough without the need to also battle the associated societal stigma. Our programs are designed to help people climb out of the pit of despair, and find hope and freedom moving forward.
Addiction to alcohol is a family disease. The denial and deceit affects not only the drinker, but the spouse, kids, parents and other loved ones. When the drinker gets sober, the loved ones must trudge through the process of recovery as well. The process is daunting, and it meets with failure far more often than with success. Many married couples learn to manage in active alcoholism only to find the pain too great and the scars too deep to avoid divorce once the alcohol is out of the relationship.
Do you know that there is more than enough food to feed everyone in this country, and that the challenge is to get the excess food to the hungry people? It is true – 100%. How sad is that? People are starving while food goes to waste. Have you ever thought, someone should do something about that?
On Christmas Day, we gave rolling suitcases and backpacks to every homeless neighbor or person battling poverty that was in need at Christmas in the Park in Civic Center Park in Downtown Denver. The gifting was chaotic and hectic, and I’m not sure how many people we served. In past years, there have been over 1,000 struggling neighbors receiving gifts at this Christmas event, and the event has grown every year.
Thank you for supporting Stigma! From the donors of a single backpack, to the supporters who gave us hundreds of dollars to buy rolling suitcases and backpacks, all of you who believed in this mission helped us reach our goal of serving every single person who needed us. Thank you!
As we turn the page on the calendar, January is a big month in the fight to defeat the stigma. More people evaluate their drinking habits following the excesses of the holidays than in any other month of the year. As a high-functioning alcoholic now three years into permanent sobriety, I am painfully familiar with the mental gymnastics involved in analyzing my relationship with alcohol. Do I have a drinking problem, or am I just like everyone else – holding it together and feeling not quite right?
Christmas is here, and so is our Christmas in the Park event where we will give rolling suitcases and backpacks to our homeless neighbors. These gifts will be vital to their survival on the streets during the cold, harsh winter months.
I’ve spoken to a number of you this past week who want to contribute, but have not yet found time in you busy holiday schedule. It’s not too late for you to get involved, and we’re going to make it really easy for you.
If you live on the street in Denver in the wintertime, survival is a daily challenge. Our homeless neighbors have to carry all of their possessions with them everywhere they go, and having a place to store warm clothes is a matter of life or death.
On Christmas Day, we will gift rolling suitcases and backpacks to 1,000 of our homeless neighbors in Civic Center Park. These gifts are not a fashionable accessory or designed to make travel more convenient. Without a place to protect their essentials as they move around the cold city, they won’t survive until spring. We are making progress on our goal of giving a rolling suitcase or backpack to each and every person who needs one, but we’ve got a long way to go. To better understand the mission and the challenge we face, please watch this short and inspiring video from last year’s event.
We need your help. Check that basement storage area or the hall closet. Do you have any rolling suitcases or backpacks you can donate to our cause? Maybe you’ll notice inexpensive luggage on sale while you are Christmas shopping, or maybe you’d be willing to make a monetary donation.