Michael Hake recalls the cold December morning that he first served meals with his men’s faith group to women seeking refuge at the Samaritan House Women’s Emergency Shelter.
“It was a phenomenal experience,” he said of the volunteer opportunity a couple of years ago. “You go in expecting to give back, and you walk out realizing how much they are giving back to you in the lessons you learn,” he said.
Shortly after, his wife, Erica, was praying and singing outside Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains near the Marisol Health medical clinic in Denver. She noticed the signage outside Marisol was somewhat difficult to read from a distance. They agreed to do something about it.
“What a wonderful thing it would be to help design and sponsor a new sign for Marisol Health that has better color, contrast, and fonts for improved visibility,” Erica said.
That began the Hake family’s discovery of the many ministries of Catholic Charities and enthusiastic volunteerism and support of its mission.
“We have just scratched the surface, and we can only do more,” said Michael, who works in the financial services industry. “Our hope is to get our kids more involved now, and into the future, and encourage other families to get involved as well.”
Erica, a stay-at-home mother to their three children, hopes more people explore the opportunity to help others in need.
“We’re both really passionate about helping the community,” she said. “We would love the word to get out about all the great things Charities does.”The pair first met during their freshman year at the University of Colorado at Boulder and attended Mass together. They began to tithe as a couple but felt called to also give their time and talent. Parishioners of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Denver for 14 years, they decided to become involved in charitable work. They helped organize the Samaritan House shelter warehouse during the Christmas season. Erica launched a neighborhood maternity drive for Marisol Health and waters the adjoining prayer garden with her children weekly. She also volunteers in the clinic one Saturday per month. Michael became a parish ambassador for Charities and has gathered his men’s group for other volunteer opportunities and events.
“It’s really been a wonderful way to participate with our whole family,” Erica said of their children, ages 10, 6 years, and 10 months.
They also attended the Beacon of Hope Gala in January, and Michael sponsored two tables at the SonRise men’s breakfast in June.
“Going to those events, meeting new people, and listening to their stories and realizing how many other people in the community share your values is refreshing,” he said. “Charities shares so many values we do. Having a service organization where they put faith first matters to us a lot.”
The Hakes hope to continue their involvement with Catholic Charities and encourage other families to do the same. Erica adds, “I feel like our faith has grown through our work with Charities, and has allowed us to share with our children issues we are passionate about.”