October 26, 2018
Every Friday during our Stewardship season, we will be telling the story of one area of ministry of the church. This week we're highlighting our Bootstraps and Blessings ministry. Enjoy this story written by our very own Pat Hagen:
Started in 2013, Bootstraps and Blessings is the result of Mary Hulst’s vision of a ministry of hope to those experiencing homelessness in our neighborhood. In the beginning, the average number of clients per shift was five, word got around and now it’s doubled. Thanks to Calvary’s commitment to the King Soopers program and donations, we fund our basic program.
Loren is in a good mood today. He comes in every Monday to wash his clothes. Usually he’s quiet and studies. But today he’s talking and goes into a rant about how he was arrested unfairly last year. Estranged from his family, he is intelligent and angry at the world. We volunteers listen until another client comes in which interrupts his diatribe.
A shift for Bootstraps and Blessings is an education and reminder of life’s many ups and downs. Every Monday for three hours, volunteers greet new and returning clients experiencing homelessness. We offer King Soopers cards and RTD passes once every three months and food bags monthly to those needing help. We also listen and offer resources for those seeking mental health assistance, temporary housing, food and clothing. And of course, the weekly showers and laundry which are hard to come by when you are living on the street.
The lucky ones have a car to live in. Don lives in a parking lot in his truck and suspects a conspiracy is recording his every move. Tina works at a care facility and lives in her car because she doesn’t feel safe in an apartment.
Many are often just out of jail or the hospital. Their stories can be heartbreaking and horrific. Some are veterans and can’t find their way once out of the service. Gerald has one leg and is happy to have just gotten a new prosthetic. He walks about 20000 steps everyday. Ezra and his daughter come in for help because she has liver cancer and just had surgery. Ezra rides his bike everywhere.
Our volunteers are amazing and each approaches their shift differently. Geraldine Cook says, “Bootstraps and Blessings is a place where giving a little can mean a lot. A shower and clean clothes can mean getting a job and staying off the streets. It’s sad when the name of one of your former students shows up on the B&B rolls. One layoff can send a family into a talespin. I can’t give a million dollars but I can give a little time to listen and serve. It keeps me humble.”
Bill Ponikvar, who often works as a team with Cindy, says “If I can come make somebody’s day better, I’ve accomplished my goal.” Walter Rowell believes that "our volunteers listen to folks, and offer advice for many other services. I meet people who have troubles often not of their own making. They work hard to get by, and often don’t complain. These are people that I would not otherwise meet, with stories that are worth hearing and sharing.”
You can support B&B simply by getting a reloadable King Soopers gift card from Mary Hulst (email@example.com) or Nancy Hoffmaster. This ministry is solely supported by the 5% cashback we receive when you shop or buy gas with your reloadable card. Currently B&B is also accepting donations of adult-sized gloves and socks to keep those warm during these cold winter months.
A Journalism major at Mizzou, Pat Hagen fell into the hotel business and enjoyed 45 years working for Marriott, Hyatt, Omni, various CVBs and Great Cities. Married to ski patrolman Steve Hagen, Pat and Steve's proudest achievement is their son Jack who is a Junior at DePaul University.