April 19-25 is National Volunteer Appreciation Week! The theme of this year’s week for the Mission is Changing lives will always need volunteers. We could not think of a more fitting theme given the current circumstances of the world.

It’s simple. Our volunteers are superheroes. They are a solid rock foundation that has fortified programs and services towards accomplishing our mission of changing lives. No matter what is happening in the world our volunteers have reflected God’s unwavering love for us the past 128 years.

In 2019, we had more than 16,520 volunteers step up to the plate. We are thrilled to give the community a snapshot of the passion and commitment these volunteers bring to the table every day. Read their stories below.

Thank You For Volunteering With Us!


Volunteers at:
Denver Rescue Mission, Lawrence Street Community Center Kitchen

Time at the Mission:
9 Years

Why the Mission:
“My heart is to help those most in need. I have found a second home at the Mission. I have been through many changes there as you can imagine since 2011, but have always felt useful and have gotten along with everyone,” JoAnne said.

JOANNE LARZIK volunteering

JoAnne’s Moment of Impact:

“I am also known as ‘The Vegetable Lady’ at the Mission, as I am a holistic nutritionist and cooking teacher and try to prepare healthy meals at the Mission with whatever is available to me on Mondays. I also occasionally bake for the chefs and volunteers.”

JIM CASHERO volunteering


Volunteers at:
Denver Rescue Mission, The Crossing

Time at the Mission:
Year and a half

Why the Mission:
“God has given me a love for the people in the New Life Program and STAR Transitional Program,” Jim said.

Jim’s Moment of Impact:

The most impactful moment for Jim as a Mission volunteer has been when his mentee graduated from the New Life Program and one year sober.


Volunteers at:
Denver Rescue Mission, Client Services

Time at the Mission:
6 Months

Why the Mission:
“The new relationships I have and the sharing and rejoicing about our amazing God while we work together is why I enjoy the Mission. I love getting to know the program participants, and pray for them daily. It’s fun to see God on the move there,” Karen said.

KAREN ANDERSON volunteering

Karen’s Moment of Impact:

“I am amazed at the difference in the men in the New Life Program compared to what we see on downtown streets in all our cities. There is community, relationship, hope. They are working. Meal times are dynamic and alive. Good stuff happening. It’s fun to be welcomed as a tiny part of it. “

TAELOR LITTLE volunteering


Volunteers at:
Denver Rescue Mission, Lawrence Street Community Center kitchen and a New Life Program Mentor

Time at the Mission:
2 Years

Why the Mission:
“I believe that it’s my responsibility to help in any way I can. I also love people and helping them and the Lord has put in me a desire that I can’t ignore. Volunteering is who I am,” Taelor said.

Taelor’s Moment of Impact:

“A man showed up to my work and I told him about the work readiness program and that I help teach there once a week. He showed up three months later and I had the privilege of attending his graduation of the program. I also got to work with him every step of the way. The ups and the downs in both of our lives allowed us to support one another.”

VI VAN OTTERLOO volunteering


Volunteers at:
Denver Rescue Mission, Chaplain Services with Steve Walkup

Time at the Mission:
12 Years

Why the Mission:
“You feel like you can serve others. I’ve been extremely blessed in my life, it’s a way of me sharing what God has given me,” Vi said.

Vi’s Moment of Impact:

“It’s so rewarding to see people appreciate what the Mission has done for them. It’s hard to pinpoint done thing. It’s a bigger blessing to me than I am to them. ”


Volunteers at:
Denver Rescue Mission, Vehicle Donation Program

Time at the Mission:
9 Months

Why the Mission:
“It’s a great charity that is well established and well know for the services it provides. Really like the vehicle donation program and it’s a fantastic option for people to dispose of a vehicle while helping others,” Lisa said.

LISA HORTON volunteering

Lisa’s Moment of Impact:

“When I witness how above and beyond Shelly from Guest Services does to decorate the waiting area, arranging and giving gifts like blankets, care packages and places them on each chair in the waiting area ensuring shoppers receive the gift. Her dedication to her job as not just a job but truly a ministry. She’s very upbeat, welcoming, friendly and I’m sure all that encounter her feel valued and cared for.”


Volunteers at:
Denver Rescue Mission, Lawrence Street Community Center

Time at the Mission:
1 year

Why the Mission:
“I like giving back to the Denver community since it has been so good to me. Second I find the struggles that many of the folks that the Mission serves to be relatable and too easy for many Americans to fall into. I think we all do better if from time to time,” Chris said.

CHRIS BOWEN portrait

Chris’ Moment of Impact:

“Getting to meet and talk to folks that help out around the Mission. It exposes me to a group of the Denver population that I seldom interact with otherwise. The experience is enriching and humbling; those who are struggling are abundant and similar to everyone else.”

Feel Inspired?

You can sign up to volunteer to make a direct impact too.