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.
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.