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Thursday, September 16, 2021
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Living outside the box

A 63-year-old woman in Denver plans to build awareness of homelessness and raise funds by living in a box on the streets for 48 hours, Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday. Oh wait, that woman is me!

This year I will celebrate Thanksgiving on the streets with the homeless to let them know I care; that all of us at the Denver Homeless Ministry care. These people are our friends. We want other people to have the opportunity to get to know them like we do. Sometimes we forget to look into the eyes of someone who is less fortunate, someone who has given up, someone who has lost hope.

While preparing for this experience, I have been reflecting on my own Thanksgiving days growing up in the projects in Rock Island, Ill. We’d get up early to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and get ready for our dinner that consisted of a lot of different products from “commodities”(food given out to the poor): blocks of cheese (it was yellow and resembled cheese anyway), logs of butter big enough to cause heart attacks city-wide, flour that came in cloth bags large enough to make clothes out of or hide in, and huge cans of potted meat my great-grandmother had to boil, slice, broil and cover in ketchup before my sister and I would eat it. My scariest nightmare was that she was going to form an image of a turkey out of it.
Memories.

We had turkey, family, warmth and an apartment. Sometimes I forget to be thankful for those things until I see my friends on the street who have nothing.

There were 921 homeless youth ages 13-24 counted in the Denver metro area in one day, according to the 2013 Homeless Point-In-Time Study conducted by the Metropolitan Denver Homeless Initiative.

There is sadness, no family, no warmth, no place to lay their head. And worse, there is the sadness of giving up, losing hope and believing no one cares.

On Thanksgiving Day at 2:30 p.m., along with the Denver Homeless Ministry, I will host a warm meal outside in the parking lot of Knights of Columbus Hall at 1555 Grant St. in downtown Denver (the site where I will spend those 48 hours in a box). We invite people to bring their favorite Thanksgiving dishes to share, such as turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and pie. Food will be available to anyone who stops by, homeless or not—anybody who wants to see a friendly face, get a hug, share a meal and feel the love of Christ, at least for a day.

On Black Friday, one of the biggest shopping days of the year in the United States, we will have a drop box for shoppers to bring socks, gloves, scarves, hats and hand warmers, to be distributed to those in need.

Please come by and visit me at the “box” to make a donation, visit with our friends, share a meal or to just to say ‘hi’. All donations to the Denver Homeless Ministry are tax-deductible, and all funds are used to benefit the homeless.

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