National Volunteer Appreciation Week is here! This year at the Mission, our theme for the week is Wings Like Eagles. As Isaiah 40:31 says, “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
We are overjoyed to celebrate our volunteers, as they have all shown strength, perseverance and dedication in serving our most vulnerable neighbors.
In fact, our volunteers spent 60,957 hours serving last year!
Hours Served by Volunteers Last Year
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to all our volunteers who have given hope to the hopeless, meals to the hungry and smiles to the hurting. It is because of you that we are able to change lives every single day.
Get to Know Some of Our Amazing Volunteers!
Meal Service Volunteer at 48th Avenue Center
Time at the Mission: I started volunteering with DRM in 2013 at the downtown location. I volunteered there every Tuesday night at the end of my workday for years. I also served meals every Saturday for dinner during the entire pandemic at the National Western Complex, then moved to the Denver Coliseum to serve meals and now I volunteer for the dinner shift every Saturday night at 48th Avenue Center.
Favorite Memory Volunteering: My favorite memory has to be while serving at the National Western Complex during the pandemic. I was so overwhelmed and moved by the efforts DRM made to feed the 800 men who were housed there throughout the pandemic.
I am honored and proud to have been a part of the effort and so grateful to see how God used DRM staff and volunteers during a very difficult time in Denver and all over the world to help those most in need. Volunteering at the Mission is the highlight of my week and I love serving the guests because they deserve to enjoy a meal on a consistent basis.
Volunteer Teacher for Career Development Classes at Harvest Farm
Time at the Mission: I have volunteered at Harvest Farm for about one year, and it has truly been one of the most rewarding years of my life. When I started volunteering, I was quite nervous. My task was to teach the participants how to get jobs. The curriculum was set, terrific and effective; however, I simply did not know if I could relate to the men in such a way that would make me an effective teacher. I have been a professional educator for 20 years but did not have this sort of work previously. After teaching several classes on this topic, I was embraced by the students. It was a most warm and congenial environment. I really wanted to help them be successful, and my relationships grew with the men.
Favorite Memory Volunteering: At the end of my last class, I was honored that the men invited me to celebrate their graduation from the class by viewing the film “The Pursuit of Happyness,” which centers on a man who is down and out but works his way out of this hole. I was grateful for the invitation, and I will never forget the gesture on their part.
Change Maker at The Crossing
Time at the Mission: I have been volunteering at The Crossing since September 2020. I am a Change Maker (long-term volunteer) in the kitchen and volunteer Wednesday and Thursday mornings.
Favorite Memory Volunteering: My favorite memories revolve around those who have succeeded in the program. I am so excited when someone I have worked with and prayed for in the kitchen comes back and tells me about how they are doing. These success stories always make me see what a difference The Crossing is making in the lives of these men. To see how God is working in these men’s lives, to bring new hope and to create a new story makes me so grateful to be able to serve at The Crossing.
Another thing that makes working in the kitchen so meaningful is Blue, the chef. His ability to walk alongside those in the program, giving support and unconditional love is stunning. He takes the time to listen and encourage everyone he encounters and brings joy into the kitchen.
Case Manager at Fort Collins Rescue Mission
Time at the Mission: Last summer, I was an emergency services intern at Fort Collins Rescue Mission (FCRM) and a kitchen intern at Harvest Farm. Then I was hired on as a temporary emergency services coordinator, and just recently got hired on as a full-time case manager at FCRM.
Favorite Memory: I have so many great memories! One night when I was an intern, I sat in our courtyard for five or so hours just having conversations with guests and being present with them. At the end of the shift, I talked with my boss at the time and apologized because I hadn’t gotten anything done. He responded that how I spent the evening constituted a productive day.
Before I joined the Mission, I was an Army medic and because of that previous work and my own personality, I have a strong focus on objectively measurable accomplishments. The “Ministry of Presence” is a new experience for me. It was neat to practice it and learn how important it is in our work.
Meal Service Volunteer at 48th Avenue Center
Time at the Mission: I have been volunteering for two years now. When the pandemic shut down schools, I wanted to help somewhere that I could make a difference and help out in person. I went on a drive through Denver one day and was stopped at a stoplight right by Lawrence Street Shelter and decided to look into volunteering. Simple as that! I took it as a sign that I should see if I can help.
Favorite Memory Volunteering: There was a young kid (I would say in his early 20’s) and he NEVER smiled and would not acknowledge me when I said hello and asked about his day.
FINALLY, after several months, he simply smiled when I said, “Hey you, good to see you this morning.” The next couple of weeks, he smiled every time he came through the line. Then there was a day where it was packed and we were moving fast. I went to hand him his plate and I caught the edge of the tray on the box of utensils and the plate flipped over and everything landed at his feet. I gave him a new plate and ran around to clean up the mess. He later came through for seconds and I repeated, “I am so very sorry I dumped that tray on you,” and he looked at me and said, “That was so messed up,” with a serious face and went to walk away, but then turned around and said with a smile, “I’m kidding with you, miss,” and laughed. No one had ever heard him speak before, let alone joke around!
I have so many stories about finally breaking through to one of the guests and having them chat with me. I have gotten to know many of them and have shared stories and pictures of my life and they will ask each week about my kids or my dog and want to hear stories.
Mentor at Harvest Farm
Time at the Mission: I have been volunteering as a mentor at Harvest Farm for about a year. I have a heart to serve the Lord, and the mentoring program provides a meaningful way to serve the Kingdom. It has deepened my faith as I have called on the Lord to guide me with the men.
Favorite Memory Volunteering: A young man I was mentoring had told me about his brother. His brother was older, and they had moved to Colorado together.
The men did not have the best relationship because of their lifestyle choices, and they had become separated and lost contact with each other. The man I was mentoring missed his brother and often wondered about where he was and how he was doing. We prayed together for them to be reunited and the Lord to work in his older brother’s life.
The brothers were reunited at worship service one Sunday. The older brother had found his way to Fort Collins Rescue Mission, and I was mentoring the younger brother at Harvest Farm. The following Sunday, the older brother was baptized. Not long after, he was accepted to the Farm where he began the New Life Program. The Lord has reunited these brothers and will use their lives for His Glory.
You can learn more about David’s experience as a mentor in our April Changing Lives newsletter.
Mentor & Meal Service Volunteer at The Crossing
Time at the Mission: I started volunteering at The Crossing in April 2021. I began by serving dinner two nights per month with our church. I also helped organize our Refugee Mentoring Team and started working with a family from Myanmar after completing the training session with Jose Kabeya. We continue to work with that family and are expecting our second refugee family from Afghanistan very soon. I then took the mentor training from Donna Brooks and was assigned my first mentee in May. I continue working with him and took on my second mentee in November. Mentoring is a wonderful experience and I ALWAYS receive more than I give.
Favorite Memory Volunteering: I have so many wonderful memories at DRM. I think the most powerful thing I’ve experienced since coming to The Crossing is something that one of the participants spoke with me about.
They said, “Throughout my entire life, nighttime was always a frightening time for me. Bad things always happened at night—fighting, abuse, assaults, gunfire, police officers, etc. These often interrupted any possibility of sleep. Now each evening when I go to my room at The Crossing and lock my door, I can sleep all night without being afraid. You have no idea what that means.”
Fortunately for me I really don’t have any idea what that means. I’m so grateful that I don’t understand, but it compels me to support Denver Rescue Mission to keep providing that safe space for the many who do understand. I LOVE VOLUNTEERING AT DRM!!
Meal Service Volunteer at Fort Collins Rescue Mission
Time at the Mission: I started volunteering in fall 2020 through Circle K at Colorado State University. Since COVID put a hold on in-person events, the Mission was the main volunteer opportunity hosted by Circle K. I wanted to meet students across campus and most importantly, get involved in my new community.
Now that I am an officer for the club, I have the joy of seeing other students go through the same process I went through and hear their stories from when they volunteer.
Favorite Memory Volunteering: My favorite memories are helping Rica and Dreya with meals—every single time. There is no one memory that stands out, they’re all just as great.