Denver Rescue Mission’s Annual Christmas Banquet is a time of joy. You can’t help but smile at our guests enjoying the feast in front of them. Our volunteers – nearly 70 of them! – carrying plates and cups full of sweet tea and hot cider to each person as they sit down. From 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. at our Lawrence Street Community Center (LSCC) RAZ Café, it’s like a wonderful dance of holiday merriment.

The preparation for these types of banquets is meticulous. Our chefs begin planning the menu weeks ahead of time to feed 550+ men, women and families experiencing homelessness. On the menu this year was glazed ham, roasted turkey, carrots, potatoes, corn casserole, a variety of salads, fresh baked rolls with honey butter, and, of course, delicious desserts. Although we serve three meals a day, 365 days a year at LSCC, our Christmas meal is a special occasion as we celebrate Jesus’ birth and join together in fellowship. 

The Story of Joseph

For some of our guests, it’s a welcomed change from their everyday norm. During the banquet, I met a gentleman named Joseph. I could tell Joseph was on the move. With his backpack in tow, he was waiting for his friend to finish up his meal before they headed down to the Civic Center Station to catch the #15 bus. Joseph didn’t come to the Mission often, but today, something told him to be here. He was happy to receive the meal and even more elated when our volunteers told him he could pick out two gifts, which were all donated by generous supporters – his choice of hats, gloves or socks. Joseph selected socks because all of his were worn down and he said he could really use them.

We began chatting about his time growing up in Alabama. Joseph said there was a saying down South that came to his mind during the banquet – “You’ve got to reach up before you get too low.” In a sense, you’ve got to know when you need help. When you just can’t do it all on your own.

Joseph knew that he needed some help today. He added “I have places to go. But I stopped by the Mission because I didn’t want to get too low. I needed to reach up.”

We’re thankful that our Mission doors are wide open on days like our Christmas Banquet when someone like Joseph needs help. A warm meal to make the day a little more bearable. A place to lay their head at night when there are no other options. A comforting smile when they’re feeling low, especially during the holidays.

And for those of you who help us encourage others to reach up, like all of our dedicated volunteers and generous supporters, we thank you for making it all possible. Merry Christmas from our Mission family to yours.

Written by: Stacy Parker, Marketing & Communications Manager