When I heard about the Competitor Group bringing their Rock ‘n’ Roll race series to Denver for the Inaugural Denver Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon and 1/2 Marathon I was excited….for many reasons. To start with, my Father-in-Law lives in Denver and my Sister-in-Law and her husband live in Boulder, instant volunteers! More than that though, I had heard great things about the Denver Rescue Mission and was now going to have the opportunity to work with them.
The Denver Rescue Mission meets people at their physical and spiritual points of need with the goal of returning them to society as productive, self-sufficient citizens. The Denver Rescue Mission operates five facilities throughout Metro Denver and Northern Colorado. Their goal has been the same for the past 118 years – to serve the needs of the poor and homeless through emergency services, rehabilitation, transitional and permanent housing, and community outreach. Last year, the Denver Rescue Mission served 659,854 meals, provided 171,480 nights of shelter, provided 185 tons of clothing, and placed 253 families into permanent housing. The team from the mission shared some alarming facts with me:
On any given night, there are 11,061 homeless men, women and children in Metro Denver. Of the over 11,061 homeless people in the Denver metro area, approximately:
• 46.5% are people in households with children
• 26.8% are children and teens
• 13.0% are veterans
• 44.5% are experiencing their first episode of homelessness
• 4.5% are chronically homeless
When survey respondents were asked to indicate “all that apply” regarding reasons for their homelessness, the following were the top 10 reasons listed:
- Lost job 34.7%
- High housing costs (rent or mortgage) 31.2%
- Alcohol or substance abuse 29.5%
- Relationship or family breakup 19.1%
- Mental Illness 16.2%
- Eviction/Foreclosure 12.6%
- Illness 10.5%
- Domestic violence 9.9%
- Discharged from jail 8.0%
- Legal 8%
As I sit in the comforts of my own home and type this post my heart breaks from a couple of these numbers really standing out. The fact that roughly 47% are households with children and that 45% are experiencing their first episode of homeless is tragic. Obviously lack of finances or the loss of employment have played a large role in why many have found themselves in this situation. This is all more the reason we need to collect as many pairs of shoes as possible. By doing so we can lessen the burden of the mother whose children need shoes because their feet are growing so fast the shoes they have don’t fit. We can ease the pain of a father who is out of work and has to decide how to spend what money he has on either food or shoes for his family. We can help those who know that winter is only days away along with the freezing cold. Shoes for these people can mean survival.
Whether you are running the marathon or not, chances are you have shoes you can donate. Make it this weekend and come donate them to us here. Let’s make this inaugural race event one to remember not only because it takes place in one of the most beautiful locations in the country but because Denver came together and gave it their best, they gave it their hearts and they gave their shoes!