We’re making progress, but we’ve got a long way to go. We are trying to collect 1,000 new or gently used rolling suitcases and backpacks to be gifted to our homeless Denver neighbors on Christmas Day in Civic Center Park.
These rolling suitcases and backpacks are absolutely essential to the survival of our Denver residents who have no place to live through the cold winter months. Without this semi-safe and mobile place to protect their few warm belongings, they won’t live to see spring. Sorry for the drama, but it truly is a life or death situation.
Despite your best efforts and intentions, does the commercial side of Christmas overwhelm what it is really all about year after year? Are you worried that your kids are too focused on what they will get for Christmas, and they don’t have a passion for giving? For years, Sheri and I relied on increased bakery sales at Christmastime to make our business successful for the year. It nearly ruined Christmas for us. We didn’t make enough time to show our kids what Christmas is supposed to be all about. But we found the solution, and we want to share it with you.
The weather this week is inconvenient for those of us with warm homes and reliable transportation. Just imagine if that inconvenience was suddenly a brutal, life-threatening disaster that required all of your effort just to survive. How could you make money in those conditions? How could you possibly learn and grow?
Remember back when we got to know each other, you and us? It was that bakery that brought us together, but we took it from there, didn’t we? We shared a piece of each other’s lives. We talked about the weather, our kids, things going on in the neighborhood. We became friends over the years, and I don’t honestly think the bread had much of anything to do with our fondness for you. The bread was an excuse. The connection was from shared ideas and mutual respect.
Emily is a Certified Nursing Assistant with a good job and stable housing where she lives with her four kids under the age of six-years-old. The older children have settled in nicely to the new school year, and their path to a Denver Public Schools K-12 education is off to a great start. Without the intervention and assistance of the DPS Homeless Education Network, this story would have had a very different, likely tragic, ending.
When I admitted to myself and my wife that I was a high-functioning alcoholic, I was filled with shame about my lack of control over my drinking and the damage I had done to our relationship. Do you want to know what was even more shameful for me in early sobriety? Being the only non-drinker in our alcohol-soaked society.
Gaining my permanent sobriety was the hardest thing I’ll likely ever do. The physical cravings were, frankly, easy to beat. Not drinking in a culture that worships alcohol, however, was gruelling and intensely painful. The stigma associated with alcoholism is the number one barrier to people finding relief in recovery.
School has started, routines are reestablished, teaching and learning are happening and kids are battling hunger to get from Friday to Monday. Three of these four things are optimal. But hunger in a country with such excess food is appalling. Let’s not stand for it!
Thank you to the many donors to our Backpacks that Nourish program we launched last week. Your generosity got us to about 30% of our initial fundraising goal, and we have put operations into motion. We have identified four elementary schools in Southeast Denver with homeless and free & reduced lunch program populations who will benefit from your generosity.
But 30% leaves a long way to go. We will run out of funding just as winter hits and the kiddos need our help the most. Please consider helping us send backpacks full of food home with Denver Public School students in need every friday to help them get through the weekend and back to school where they receive two nutritious meals per day.
For most of us, Monday morning means a reluctant return to the grind. For Elouisa, a return to the routine of school brings with it a sort of welcome relief. She loves her family, but times are tough and there isn’t enough food for her and her siblings to eat. She has learned to get a few hours of sleep at night in spite of her grumbling tummy. But the school week means at least two meals a day, and the consistency and relief brings Elouisa a great deal of comfort.
Unfortunately, Elouisa is not alone. Nearly one in every seven kids in Colorado face food insecurity. Denver Public Schools has become a bastion of hope, not just educationally, but to meet the enormous and growing needs to nourish our children with free breakfast and lunch for kiddos in need.
But what about the weekends? How will Elouisa and the thousands of DPS kids just like her fill the gaps in available food to make it until Monday morning?
Do you remember us – Matt Salis and my wife, Sheri? We used to bake your 100% whole grain bread…sound familiar? We’re back, and we hope you’ll continue to help us serve our community.
There were really two main components to the life of our bakery. We baked and you ate over a million loaves of bread. Sadly, that part isn’t coming back. But the other part of what we did together, you and us, the part where we made an impact in our community, that part is alive and well. We hope you’ll join us again and continue forward in service to our neighbors who need us the most.
Introducing: Stigma – our non-profit on a mission to help those among us who suffer from homelessness, poverty, addiction and other stigmatized conditions. Our first two initiatives are in support of kiddos in our Denver Public Schools system who work to survive homelessness and poverty while they try to get an education and break the cycle moving toward a better future. Together, we have raised over $53,000 for homeless students in past years. And that really has nothing to do with bread, so let’s keep the love flowing.