Hands-on charity rewarding for volunteer

Karl Hotz, a parishioner at St. Mary Catholic Church in Greeley, retired in order to dedicate more volunteer hours to helping people in need at Guadalupe Community Center in Greeley.

After 22 years of working in higher education, Karl Hotz decided to give his time back to the Church.

“My whole reason for retiring is I wanted to serve God and my Church,” said Hotz, 62.

Giving back meant being hands on and helping others in need. Hotz,
a parishioner at St. Mary Catholic Church in Greeley, retired and took part-time work at the University of Northern Colorado to allow time to volunteer. He never forgot his previous experience at Guadalupe Community Center, an overnight and transitional shelter in Greeley, and decided to return.

Twice a week in the afternoons, Hotz comes to the shelter to assemble bag lunches for shelter residents, prepare food, and clean and organize after lunch is served.

“For me to go out and be hands on and active with my faith means a lot,” Hotz said. “(The shelter has) always been very welcoming, inviting and encouraging to me. The best part of my experience is being in a good environment but also working with other volunteers in the community.”

Hotz, who has served a total of six years at the shelter, is a mentor to new volunteers.

“I don’t mind sharing with them, making them more familiar and comfortable with the environment. I simply tell them don’t be afraid. You have nothing to fear. You’re being called to be helpful, so go out and experience it.”

The greatest blessing to Hotz comes when he gets to know residents and watch them as they build their lives again.

“It’s so worthwhile,” he said. “The reward is really in watching people leave the shelter and (have a second chance). They get their independence back. I love that. That’s the reward. Chances are I’ll never see them again, but I’m happy for them.”

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