“Being here, is like a second chance.” Samaritan House resident Donald heals while serving other veterans

With pride beaming on his face, Donald shares exciting news – his 32nd great-grandchild was born earlier that week. He displays a photo of his newborn great-granddaughter on his phone to those he has grown close with at Samaritan House.  

It’s not uncommon to find Donald in the early hours of the day in the cafeteria or recreation room, talking to new and old friends about his job and the latest resources he’s learned about. With a coffee in hand and his work uniform on, he is ready to tackle another day. His bright and infectious personality has given him somewhat of a celebrity status at the shelter. He inspires people to work hard and utilize what is in front of them.  

“Being here is like a second chance. I haven’t gotten everything I’ve wanted (to accomplish) in the two years since I have relapsed,” said Donald.   

During his stay on the veteran’s floor at Samaritan House, he has maintained his two-year-long sobriety and stays busy working as a transporter at the Veterans Administration Hospital in downtown Denver to help fellow veterans. The 70-year-old rides in golf cards, picking up individuals who are seeking care. His favorite part of the job is talking with people about their time in service and swapping stories about the good times, and bad. His warm smile and empathetic nature instantly put veterans at ease.  

“It helps me process my time in the Navy when I hear other stories about their experiences,” shared Donald. “Our generation, especially the veterans are so overlooked, and listening is sometimes the first step for people that I talk to. 

As his family grows, he is reminded of how special each interaction with them is. He scrolls through his Facebook page, sharing updates and photos of more family members that have welcomed him back in their lives. The throws of addiction separated him from his family for many years, years he knows he won’t get back. But with grace and service to others, he is slowly healing from his PTSD as a veteran himself and working on maintaining peace. 

Whether Donald is helping a new resident at Samaritan House navigate their daily routine, or talking through the struggles a veteran in his golf cart at the VA is facing, Donald has found fulfillment in helping others. Through his dedication and unwavering spirit, Donald has become a guiding light for veterans navigating the complex path of healing, proving that even in challenging times, a single act of kindness could change lives. 

Groundbreaking is underway at Church of All Saints campus to bring affordable housing to Southwest Denver

On Thursday, September 14, 2023, dozens gathered at the Church of All Saints campus to celebrate the groundbreaking of a new affordable housing property that will support the Southwest Denver community. Spearheaded by Catholic Charities Housing, Cushing Terrell, Palace Construction, IMEG Corp. and Terracon Consultants, the new affordable housing development will house 63 seniors when … Read more

Catholic Charities’ Guadalupe Community Center in Weld County Offers a Lifeline to Families Who Need it Most

In a world where struggles often remain unseen, Catholic Charities continues to shine a light on those who need it most. This is the story of one woman – we’ll call her Debbie – who found solace and support in the midst of her family’s darkest times, thanks to the unwavering assistance provided by Catholic … Read more

Supporting Afghan Asylum Seekers In Colorado

When the United States withdrew from Afghanistan in August of 2021, hundreds of thousands of Afghans who had been assisting the U.S. military were left in the war-torn country without security. Most Americans likely remember the horrifying images on the tarmac in Kabul as fearful Afghans chased planes and begged for transportation to safety. They … Read more

Marisol Family partners with national radio station to throw the World’s Biggest Baby Shower

Last year, Marisol Family distributed over two million diapers to families in Northern Colorado. That was a 25% increase in just the last year and the need continues to grow. We rely on the community’s generous support to meet these growing needs and are excited to be partnering with Way FM, a national Christian Radio Broadcast, as … Read more

School Supply Drive brings confidence to the classroom for hundreds of students

Every year, as a new school year approaches, Catholic Charities partners with parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Denver to organize a School Supply Drive, providing essential educational materials to hundreds of students.

According to the National Retail Federation, families with school-aged children averaged more than $840 on school supplies in 2023. For many families served by Catholic Charities, the growing price of supplies due to inflation, is insurmountable. The cost could potentially impede their grocery or housing budget for the month, leaving children with few to no supplies to start the school year.

“For families at Samaritan House and other ministries throughout Catholic Charities, we want to be sure that school is not another cause for anxiety or stress. We are thankful to the many amazing donors that contribute to share this vision with us and make it a reality,” said Mark Hahn, Director of Volunteer and Community Engagement at Catholic Charities.

Since the School Supply Drive began, it has connected generous donors with thousands of students, to help enrich education and build up that extra confidence as students enter their classrooms for the first time. Brand new backpacks and supplies do that by giving children one less thing to worry about when they are learning and growing.

Families such as Aaron Areolla and his granddaughters, who are part of our Kinship program, have participated in the Catholic Charities School Supply Drive since the girls were in elementary school. Back then, their school supply lists included crayons and colored pencils.

Today, the girls are in high school, and their school supply lists are a lot different. But they still look forward to coming to Christ the King parish in Denver to pick out new backpacks, folders and notebooks for the upcoming school year. As for their grandfather, he says it has been a saving grace that they can depend on year after year.

Thanks to the generosity of incredible donors, families like the Areolla’s are able to start the school year on an equal footing. The assistance provided through the Catholic Charities School Supply Drive undoubtedly impacts the lives of these children, fostering confidence and enthusiasm as a new school year begins.

St Raphael’s Volunteer Steps in to Help Schools Post Pandemic

Mental health is a hot topic in school systems across the country. To meet students where they’re at, St. Raphael Counseling’s school counseling team has grown, partly in response to the complex social emotional and academics setbacks stemming from the COVID pandemic. This expansion of school counseling throughout the Archdiocese of Denver stretching from Eagle … Read more

Intentionality and Social Media

By Mark R. Sanders LPC, CACIII Catholic Charities of Denver’s St. Raphael Counseling I have a love and hate relationship with the internet. I must admit that my hobbies — watching English Premier League football and collecting Star Wars vintage memorabilia — couldn’t exist in the same way without it. However, there is also a … Read more