We are always appreciative of all the hard work our volunteers put in to make the programs and services we offer possible. Each volunteer has a unique story and reason behind why they enjoy supporting the Mission.
Get to Know Our Volunteers
Mark volunteers to serve lunch every Tuesday at the Lawrence Street Community Center, a job he took on after retiring and moving to Denver from Santa Fe last year. He loves the comradery of the people he works with each week and feels like he receives much more than he will ever be able to give.
Mark compares volunteering to a pebble thrown into still water. No matter how small, it impacts all the water surrounding it.
“Sometimes, even when you feel like you do not matter, like your work is too small, even then, it makes a huge difference,” Mark said. He believes that people can be different, yet very much the same. Although he may not know everyone’s story or where they’re coming from, Mark wants to offer his support to guests while serving at the Mission.
The Jets are a group of friends that have been serving Denver’s homeless community for more than 10 years and started regular shifts serving at the DRM when the pandemic hit. They were blown away by the Mission’s rehabilitation programs and the incredible work the chefs do to create meals from donated food.
Their group name “The Jets” is a playful nod to a song from the film Westside Story: “Once you‘re a jet, you‘re a jet all the way.”
Guests and staff alike are always happy to see The Jets come in to volunteer, and the team of friends are also happy knowing that they are not just feeding people but are part of something much bigger.
Don is the leader of The Jets, who found the serving opportunities and a love for everything about the Mission. His favorite thing to do is crack thousands of eggs for breakfast in the morning because it keeps him busy. Don is inspired to help because of the many people who struggle every day to survive.
“I’m amazed by the number of homeless in Denver. It seems like such an intractable problem, and it does not come from one thing,” he said.
“There are low-income people who do not have access to affordable housing, and others who struggle with addiction and mental health issues who do not have anywhere to go for treatment.”
“My personal prayer motivates me to help: ’May I be happy and peaceful; may I be healthy and strong,’” he said of his volunteer time for the Mission.
Bill enjoys volunteering because he gets to work, laugh and learn alongside his best friends. He believes that volunteering and continuous learning are important in supporting the community.
“In Denver we see the problems all around us on the street. Because we can see it, it is important to continue learning and researching to better understand the problems and help create solutions,” Bill said. This motivates him serve others to become a better person.
Because Andrew likes “behind-the-scenes” volunteering, prep work is perfect for him. He enjoys working with his friends and helping the chefs wherever they need him most.
He reflects on his service saying, “[Some] people who are being served have mental health problems, and we have been given the opportunity to serve and help them out.”
A self-proclaimed extrovert, Bill enjoys working face-to-face with people on the meal serve line.
“Meeting and interacting with guests is the most rewarding part for me,” he said. “It is a good thing to give back and this is one way I can do that.”
Rus enjoys coming in on Monday mornings as part of The Jets to serve breakfast. “The need is really out there and the appreciation we get from guests as they come through the line to get food is an inspiration to continue serving,” he said.
Rus enjoys knowing that there are people in the community who are willing to give their time to help those who do not have as much. “It is one thing to give your money, but another to give your time and talents,” he said.
Written by: Aurora Franzon, Communication and Events Intern