Over the past 128 years at Denver Rescue Mission, we have celebrated Christmas many times, many ways, at different facilities, and with different staff, volunteers and guests. But no other Christmas has looked much like this year, for the Mission, our city, our nation, and our world.

In the week leading up to Christmas, we served special holiday meals at three different shelter facilities:

  • Lawrence Street Community Center (LSCC)
  • 48th Avenue Center
  • Denver Coliseum, a temporary shelter that opened in response to the pandemic.

The meals included honey glazed ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, broccoli, macaroni and cheese, apple pear crisp, and more. A generous donor family decorated cookies to hand out for dessert and Dove Vending donated soda for the meals.

After sitting down for their meals, each guest received a gift—a winter hat of their choice.

Meet Our Guests This Christmas

At the LSCC, one of the guests, Frankie, has been coming to the Mission for more than a year and felt so thankful for the Christmas meal and gift. “It’s a nice, wonderful, warm felt reminder that some people in the world still really care,” he said.

Another guest, Kenny, said had planned to spend Christmas at his sister-in-law’s home, but his plans changed when she started showing symptoms of COVID-19. He is currently staying at the Mission’s Holly Street Center and eating meals three times a day at the LSCC. “I just feel thankful and grateful,” he said. “I’m 51 years old. It’s a struggle, but I’m going to pull through it.”

For some guests, the event brought back memories of the past. Jim has four daughters and plans to borrow someone’s phone to call them on Christmas day. “This Christmas… I’m not with my family,” he said. “I’ll be thinking about my girls.”

Tough times like that are exactly why we work so hard to make the holidays special for our struggling neighbors.

A team of volunteers lined up to serve the meal and make guests feel welcome, and it was a festive experience for everyone involved. “Being here to volunteer today—my Christmas is now complete,” said Matt Smith, volunteer and supporter of the Mission.

As we wrap up 2020, we are deeply grateful for the community’s support—for those who prayed for us, served alongside us, and helped individuals and families in need press on through such a challenging year.

So although it’s been said many times, many ways, Merry Christmas from Denver Rescue Mission.

Written by: Natanya van Heerden, Content Specialist