This is Why We Do Sock Drops . . .

by Sandi on February 4, 2011

Our regular readers and patients have probably seen many times information from us about our sock drops or coat collections for St. Elizabeth’s soup kitchen downtown Denver.  We love their program because it’s the most basic, hands-on way to help someone one-to-one that we’ve seen. 

I’m writing about it again today because yesterday was my shift to serve soup and, as you all know, it was very cold (as in -17 degrees cold!) and we serve the men soup outside in an alley.  They often line up 2 hours before serving and there are no tables or chairs, they eat on the ground or take it with them.  I wondered if there would even be anyone there.  After all, it was dangerously cold and my hope was that area shelters were staying open during the day so that there was a better place to get lunch than our outdoor buffet!  No such luck.  We normally serve about 100 men, yesterday there were about 40 but about half of them made note about how they are still sleeping outside even with the current temperatures.  One man described his tent so that we might recognize it when driving past Colfax.  Another was wearing a Pittsburg Steelers coat and (as you probably know) our family are Steelers fans so Iasked him if he’d be cheering them on in the SuperBowl this week-end.  He said he didn’t really care, he found the coat in a dumpster and it was the warmest thing he had.  Heartbreaking.

It’s evident in the group of men that there is a variable mix of mental illness and substance abuse histories that have contributed to them living on the streets.  It’s hard to wrap your brain around a way to truly make a difference with these folks when some of it is sad yet has varying degrees of self infliction.  We’ve all seen people holding signs for handouts and it’s hard to know where your money may end up.  At least here a bowl of soup goes a long way in touching someone one day at a time in a practical way.

I wanted to take a moment to thank a couple of very special helpers yesterday who came along.  Sam and Alex were volunteered by their mom to come with her for the day because my shift was short handed.  What a gift it was for these  men to see their beautiful smiles and helpful demeanor.  They were hard workers with generous spirits and they didn’t grumble a bit when their hands were numb from the crazy cold temperatures.   Thanks to both of you for lending your servant’s hearts yesterday!

We will continue to do Sock Drops throughout the year and anytime you have old winter coats or mens clothing, feel free to drop it by our office at your next appointment.   We’ll make sure they get in needy hands! 

For more information about St Elizabeth’s visit here:

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