“For the first time in a long time, I felt at home”

For Mielson and so many individuals, Samaritan House is a lifeline. Her story of courage and determination began in her home country of Venezuela, where violence became an everyday occurrence. Her journey to the United States was grueling, marked by unimaginable hardships and a desire for a better life.

Mielson’s escape from the turmoil of her homeland was born out of necessity. Fleeing violence and despair, she embarked on a perilous journey, leaving behind everything she had ever known. Weeks on the road, through treacherous terrain, brought her to the borders of the United States. Though the journey was fraught with uncertainty, hunger, and fatigue, she was relieved when she gained lawful entry into the United States.

Samaritan House is often the first resource migrants like Mielson see when they arrive in Denver. The warehouse at the Catholic Charities shelter is a bustling hub of activity, with dozens of people seeking assistance every hour. The dedicated team composed of staff and volunteers has worked tirelessly since September to ease the transition for newcomers. They offer nourishing meals, warm clothing and most importantly, a reassuring smile conveying, “You are not alone, and you are welcome here.

When Mielson finally arrived at Samaritan House in Denver, she was physically and emotionally exhausted. During her travels, she injured herself and said that at times, she didn’t know if she’d survive the journey.

“It was so scary. There were so many days and moments where I feared for my safety and for the children who had joined our group,” she shared. She hadn’t had a proper shower in weeks, and her clothes were worn. It was advised for her to wear men’s clothes during her journey to protect her from trafficking. Samaritan House welcomed her with safe shelter, nutritious food and a set of women’s clothes, reinvigorating her dignity as a woman. I was handed soap, warm clothes and my first shower in America at Samaritan House.

For the first time in a long time, she felt a sense of security and a glimmer of hope for the future. It wasn’t about the food and shelter; it was about the compassion and understanding that radiated from the people she encountered.

“We will see probably 15 to 20 people consistently at our door who need our help,” Mark Hahn, Director of Volunteer and Community Engagement at Catholic Charities said. “It took a phone call and some quick action to bring the love of Jesus Christ to clothe and feed our neighbors who may not know where to find their next meal or warm coat. It’s a small gift of true dignity.”

For Mielson, Samaritan House wasn’t just a temporary stop on her journey; it was a symbol of resilience and the promise of a better life. It was where she regained her dignity through a long-awaited shower and received a fresh set of clothing to replace the tattered remnants of her past. But even more than that, it was a place that helped mend her spirit, reminding her that she was not defined by her past hardships but by her determination to rebuild her life.

Mielson’s story, like many others who seek refuge at the Samaritan House, is a testament to the human spirit’s capacity for hope, resilience and renewal. Her journey was marked by trials, but it was also a journey of strength and Samaritan House in Denver played a vital role in providing the support and compassion she needed to embark on a new chapter in her life.

Mielson recently received housing in a Denver suburb with her husband, is applying for schools in Denver and the couple recently purchased their first car.

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