Giving to the poor is something we should all do as Christians, but as we remember that Christ gave himself to us when he became man, the Christmas season is an especially good time to give more to those less fortunate.
“Saint Lawrence answered it best,” said Father Ron Cattany, pastor of the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. “They are the treasure of the Church!”
The Cathedral serves the poor year-round through their breakfast sandwich line, midday grocery pantry and afternoon snack. It’s also open 86 hours a week to provide a place of security, warmth and refreshment through the use of bathrooms, Father Cattany said.
“The poor offer to you and me the grace to live a Life of Beatitudes. Their needs just might be our road to salvation,” Father Cattany added. “Remembering the poor at Christmas should remind us of their daily needs.”
Here are a few ways you might give to the poor this Christmas season.
Father Woody Giveaway
Every year at the Cathedral, people hand out $20 to the homeless to honor the tradition of Monsignor C.B. “Father Woody” Woodrich. This year, it takes place on Dec. 14 at 9 a.m. Father Cattany estimates between 700 and 1400 people to attend the event, which begins with a Liturgy of the World proclaimed by Regis University students, a “discussion about our support for those in attendance on their spiritual and life journey,” and envelopes with Father Woody’s image and cash inside, he said.
“Two years ago, as I was giving an envelope to one of the attendees, he gave me an envelope back. He said, This is a gift for you — it contained six cents,” Father Cattany said. “Last year I showed that envelope to the attendees. As a result, several of the folks gave me their prayer books and special items and asked me to hold on to them until this year. I will share them on Dec. 14th. Our bond with these wonderful folks is one of the most sacred bonds we will ever experience.”
With Catholic Charities
Catholic Charities in Denver has several different ministries that offer several opportunities to volunteer. Visit their volunteer hub and give your time in any of these areas: Family and childcare, housing and shelter, women’s services, senior services, mentor/teaching, special opportunities and group opportunities. Samaritan House, a homeless shelter, and Marisol Health, a women’s health clinic, are great places to serve.
Visit the volunteer hub at serveccdenver.volunteerhub.com/events/indexv1.
Through your parish
Pay attention to the giving opportunities going on at your parish, as most parishes participate in some kind of giving during the holiday season, from food pantry drives to having parishioners help visit the homebound.
Colorado Gives Day is Dec. 5 this year, so it’s a great time to consider donating to any special causes or charities near to your heart. Other creative ways to give monetarily might be to pay for someone to go home for the holidays or to tip generously when you go out to eat.
There are plenty of organizations where you can donate gifts to children or families in need. Donate to Compassion International to provide a gift for a child in need here: https://www.compassion.com/christmas-gift-for-needy-children.htm, or donate a shoe box of items to a child in a third world country through Samaritan Purse here: https://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/. You can also donate your family’s unused clothes still in good condition to a clothing drive, especially socks and mittens for colder winter weather.
Spending time with others is another great way to give. Visit the elderly at Mullen Home in Denver, or visit the homebound and help them cook, clean or decorate. Helping with children at daycare, babysitting for a family to give the parents a date night, or bringing meals to a new and exhausted family are other great ways to give your time. Christ in the City also serves meals to the homeless ever second Saturday of the month and invite anyone to come volunteer and spend time with the homeless. For more information, visit christinthecity.co/volunteer/.
One of the more traditional ways to give during the holiday season is participating in soup kitchens like Denver Catholic Worker Soup Kitchen or at a parish. Donating food to a local drive or preparing holiday meals to give to people in need is another way. You can also bake cookies and give them to neighbors or friends going through a tough time.
Adopt a family
Know someone in need in your community? Have friends and family pitch in to help provide for them this season, such as buying Christmas dinner for a single mom or low-income family and bringing them a few gifts.
Other ideas for giving
Many people are lonely during the holidays. Give by inviting someone to your Christmas dinner, especially if he or she doesn’t have a family to spend it with. Another way give is spiritually: Invite someone to go to Mass with you or to join you in prayer.