Call to Charity

by Larry Smith

I believe that Catholic Charities has a two-fold responsibility – to serve those who have a need to receive, and those who have a need to give. I pray that you will join me in this amazing and rewarding adventure.

Larry Smith, CEO
Catholic Charities of Denver


Call to Charity: Many reasons for thanksgiving at Samaritan House

Date 11.26.13

(Larry's column appeared in the Nov. 27, 2013, edition of the Denver Catholic Register.)

Before helping serve a dinner recently for military veterans at Samaritan House in Denver, I sat with a table of men to learn about their lives.

“I'm happy in my apartment out in Aurora now, I've got my dog,” said Chuck, 64, a Vietnam-era U.S. Army veteran, referring to Ziggy, his Dachshund. “He's great, he's like my co-pilot. Whenever I'm feeling down, he just jumps up in my lap and he's just all lovey.”

Samaritan House, located at 2301 Lawrence St., is a shelter that houses more than 2,600 men, women and children a year. Chuck stayed there at one point. After back surgery, he recovered at St. Joseph's Home for Veterans, an affiliate of Samaritan House that is a group home for dozens of homeless veterans at 4626 Pennsylvania St.

“They were real good to me over there,” said Chuck. “They were kind of amazed at how fast I was up and about, because they had other guys that had the same surgery that were laid out for months. I think I had one meal delivered to my room. I walked the stairs. I was on the second floor, I'd go downstairs and I'd eat. I wanted to get well. I wanted my back to get well. It hurt, but I went down and ate. I walked.”

Our brothers and sisters walk into Samaritan House every day with very little. Catholic Charities does everything it can to care for them. Some, like Chuck, have found their way to independent living; some haven't. We love them all the same, because they are loved first by God.

As we celebrate Thanksgiving, I pray that many like Chuck will continue to know the love and charity of Jesus Christ through your generous gifts of time, treasure and talent.

Call to Charity: Special Ops for men

Date 10.24.13

Call to Charity: Special Ops for men

(Larry's column appeared in the Sept. 25, 2013, edition of the Denver Catholic Register.)

While visiting a child care center for low-income and homeless families in Denver, I saw a boy about 5 years old shy away from my approach and hide under a table. It took quite a while to coax him out.

My question was to the head of the center: Why? It turns out that such children, often being raised by single moms struggling to get by, may not have an attentive, positive male influence in their lives. What they've experienced with men may be the opposite: absent, threatening or even violent.

We hear a lot about "fatherless families," but when you see a child flinch at even the approach of a man, the numbing statistics take on a sad reality that demands a response.

Here's the plan. We need men in our community to step up and read with these kids, to play with them and just be with them in an environment that's safe. Then those children can experience something they don't see enough from men in their day-to-day lives: attention and security.

We'd like a dozen male volunteers to start this program at Catholic Charities' facilities in the Denver metro area. The time commitment would be one hour a week and we will work with your schedule. Show your interest by sending an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 720-377-1327 and we will connect you with the right people at Catholic Charities to continue the conversation.

Our mission is to serve those with a need to receive and those with a need to give. Spending time with children in need is a great witness to that. For men called to this service, it will fill your hearts.


Call to Charity: Can you spare $50 to help disaster survivors?

Date 10.24.13

Call to Charity: Can you spare $50 to help disaster survivors?

(Larry's column appeared in the Oct. 23, 2013, edition of the Denver Catholic Register.)

When we think of the homeless, it's often those on the street and in shelters, people that Catholic Charities seeks to help every day in service to Christ.

There's another group of homeless, those forced out of their homes through disaster, as we all witnessed in September after the flooding in northern Colorado.

"They are living in warehouses, churches or hotels or are crammed into the spare rooms of friends and relatives because there are so few rentals available," The Denver Post reported of more than 300 immigrants, primarily the undocumented.

In Milliken, as Catholic Charities participated in a Coats for Colorado distribution, I heard that a house was taken off the market temporarily in order to allow people to sleep there. If so, that's a remarkable act of charity.

Here's how we can respond. If 1,000 people will donate $50 apiece, that will provide $50,000 toward our outreach in the flood zone, including housing needs and other necessities such as food and clothing assistance. That should help dozens of people get through the coming weeks.

We are working with other organizations on longer-term housing solutions. If you have been abundantly blessed by God, please consider a greater gift to Catholic Charities to help flood disaster survivors rebuild their lives going forward. I'll report back in a future "Call to Charity" column on what your support has accomplished.

To participate, click the "Donate" link below. Donations may also be mailed to: Catholic Charities, 4045 Pecos St., Denver, CO 80211.

After the Floods: A Letter of Appreciation

Date 10.24.13

After the Floods: A Letter of Appreciation

(This letter from Larry appeared in the Oct. 16, 2013, edition of the Denver Catholic Register.)

At Catholic Charities, we serve those with a need to receive and those with a need to give. That relationship in Christ was dramatically evident in the disaster relief efforts that followed the September floods in Colorado.

There has been a tremendous outpouring from employees of Catholic Charities, from volunteers and from donors who have responded with great care to the needs of others. With your support, we have provided food, clothing, supplies and gift cards to more than 800 families in the last few weeks. Our work has just begun, with housing needs for flood survivors now a pressing concern. It's hard to imagine their anguish, happy to be alive but faced with rebuilding their lives.

"Getting the help from the community and the people that are willing to come in and help us out means more than anybody will ever know," said a single mom whose home was flooded.

While much remains to be done, I want to take this opportunity to thank the entire Catholic community, including parishes, business people and individuals who are offering time, resources and prayers. The Denver Catholic Register, and other media, are essential in communicating those efforts.

This has also been a collaboration with many faith-based groups working on common ground to serve the needs of others. I invite you to visit Catholic Charities online at to see all that has been done – and can be done.


A Need to Give - A Need to Receive

Date 10.24.13

"With you, we can move mountains. Without you, we can achieve nothing."

Larry Smith began his tenure as Catholic Charities' new president and CEO in May 2013. In this video, he describes the mission of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Denver - and how YOU can play a key role in serving the poor, the vulnerable and the needy through your time, talent and treasure.

Catholic Charities Disaster Response Highlighted on "Just Love" Sirius XM

Date 10.23.13

Larry Smith, president and CEO of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Denver, appeared on the "Just Love" show, which aired Sept. 28, 2013, on SIRIUS XM Satellite Radio on The Catholic Channel 129. He discussed the disaster relief response in Colorado following the September floods and related issues. Listen to the interview of Smith by Monsignor Kevin Sullivan at this link, starting at 10:35. Sullivan is the executive director of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York.

Meeting the need for housing in Colorado's flood zone

Date 10.15.13

Catholic Charities is "working with interfaith communities and partnerships to figure out long-term housing solutions" in the areas of Colorado devastated by the September floods, said Larry Smith, president and CEO of Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese of Denver.

"We have to really hunker down and figure out how we're going to help these folks long term," said Smith, interviewed Oct. 9, 2013 in Milliken amid the Coats for Colorado distribution. "And where are we going to find that long-term housing solution that we're going to need for them? A lot of folks are going to be displaced, probably, but at least we'll be able to find someplace for them to live. And that's really the next focus for Catholic Charities."


A Message from Larry Smith

Date 06.16.13

A Message from Larry Smith

Dear Friends in Christ, 

I want to take this opportunity to introduce myself to you as Catholic Charities’ new Chief Executive Officer and President. I am humbled and at the same time very excited by this opportunity.

I am blessed with the opportunity to lead our community in a renewed experience of sharing Christ’s message of Faith, Hope and Charity with each of you and those we service

In the first months since my arrival, I am amazed by the many ways in which God’s charity is being proclaimed from within our walls. I speak not only of the life-changing experiences of our clients but also of the overwhelming beauty seen in the hearts of those serving to provide the resources we need to fulfill our mission.

Our staff, our volunteers, our donors – each of them witnesses to a generosity and beauty beyond words. In giving, they have received something infinitely greater; they have received the love and joy of Jesus Christ – and it has transformed, and continues to transform, their life.

I believe that Catholic Charities has a two-fold responsibility – to serve those who have a need to receive, and those who have a need to give. I promise my wholehearted dedication to this mission. I pray that you will join me in this amazing and rewarding adventure.

I look forward to meeting each and every one of you, and to hearing your story as to how Catholic Charities has impacted your life.

Sincerely in Christ,

Larry Smith
President and CEO, Catholic Charities

Donate to Catholic Charities

To donate to Catholic Charities, visit or write a check to "Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Denver" and mail to:

Catholic Charities
4045 Pecos St.
Denver, CO 80211

To learn more about available tax credits, visit All tax-deductible donations must be postmarked by December 31, 2013, in order to claim on your 2013 Tax Statement!