The holiday season is a wonderful time to practice gratitude and delight in the spirit of giving. If you’re looking for a way to help those in need this holiday season, we’ve gathered up some wonderful ways to help fight homelessness in Denver—whether that’s by donating your time, money, or helping round up everything from warm coats to fixings for a hearty meal.
Here’s a guide to the nonprofits in Denver that could use some holiday helpers:
Donate turkeys to the Denver Rescue Mission
The Denver Rescue Mission’s goal is to make sure there’s a turkey on every Denverite’s table this Thanksgiving. Each year, the mission holds a turkey drive so that those who are struggling with poverty or homelessness can enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, whether in a shelter or at home. This year, the goal is to gather up 15,000 turkeys.
How to help: If you do want to donate turkeys and other food items, here’s everything you need to know.
The Denver Rescue Mission is accepting the following items between now and 6 p.m. Nov. 21 (that’s the day before Thanksgiving!) at three different drop-off locations:
- Frozen turkeys that are least 12 pounds. They must be frozen.
- Boxed mashed potatoes
- Boxed stuffing
- Canned fruit
- Canned vegetables
- Canned yams
Donors can drop off the food items at the following locations and times:
- Ministry Outreach Center, 5725 E. 39th Ave. in Denver; donation hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday.
- Lawrence Street Shelter, 1130 Park Ave. West in Denver; donation hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Sunday.
- The Crossing, 6090 Smith Road in Denver; donation hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Sunday.
In addition, if you want to help spread the word at your office, professional organization, intramural league, or any other organization that you belong to, the Denver Rescue Mission created this flier to help.
Or, if you want to make a tax deductible cash donation, you can do so online here. As a reference point, $20 can help provide a meal for 10 people.
More information: www.denverrescuemission.org/turkey
Help Deliver Turkeys on Thanksgiving with Operation Turkey
Last year, volunteers with Operation Turkey delivered more than 50,000 meals to the homeless and less fortunate in six states, including Colorado. They’ve set an ambitious goal of delivering 75,000 meals this year. You can help them reach that turkey-tastic goal.
How to help: Volunteers can help prepare, package, and deliver warm meals, plus care packages and clothing donations to those who are in need from 8 a.m. to noon on Thanksgiving Day, which is Nov. 22 this year. Denver-area volunteers gather at the P.F. Chang’s in the FlatIron Crossing mall, which is in Broomfield, beginning at 8 a.m. for an orientation on Thanksgiving Day before the volunteering starts. You can choose your volunteer position, which includes tasks like cooking, cleaning, delivering, packaging, or plating meals. Kids are encouraged to participate with their parents or guardians, and there are special programs that can enlist their help. If you choose to volunteer, you do need to sign up in advance.
If you’re not able to volunteer, you can still support Operation Turkey by making a donation online or by mail. A $100 donation feeds 40 people, according to the nonprofit.
More information: www.operationturkey.com
Donate to Coats for Colorado
As the largest coat drive in Colorado, this campaign rounded up 100,000 coats in a single year to provide residents with warm coats at no cost. Since Coats for Colorado was started in 1982, more than 2 million coats have been dispersed.
How to help: Drop off new or gently used coats at a Dependable Cleaners, which has several locations throughout the Denver-metro area as well as Boulder. (Find all drop-off spots here). Instead of donating cash, Coats for Colorado asks that you purchase coats to donate. The organization has a special need for children’s coats, men’s coats and women’s coats in size extra large. Also, the coat drive only accepts coats—not winter accessories like hats, gloves or scarves.
More information: coatsforcolorado.org
Donate a Winter Survival Kit to The Colorado Coalition for the Homeless
The Colorado Coalition for the Homeless takes in-kind donations, however the list of items that they need often changes so it’s best to check their website here to see what needs they have for their programs that benefit families and children.
How to help: The Colorado Coalition for the Homeless has put together a list of items it currently needs for winter survival kits. Here are some of the items on that list.
- Sleeping bags
- Adult backpacks
- New socks
- Hats, gloves, scarves
- New coats
- Hand and foot warmers
- Travel size tissues
- Bus tokens
- Quick service restaurant gift cards
- Granola bars (healthy)
- Bottled water
- Winter boots
- Work boots
If you want to donate items to the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, you do need to schedule a time to drop off your donation. Or, at any time, you can set up one-time or recurring donations online.
More information: coloradocoalition.org
Eat at a charitable restaurant
A few nonprofit restaurants in Colorado are taking a new approach to dining, and have a charitable bent year-round: They allow the generosity of some diners to help cover the meals of others. You can plan to stop and have lunch at one of these restaurants while you’re out doing holiday shopping this year or suggest it the next time your friend asks where you want to go for lunch.
- Cafe 180, 3315 S. Broadway in Englewood: This restaurant serves made-from-scratch sandwiches, soups, pizza, wraps and salads and takes donations instead of charging fixed prices. Many customers give an average of $10 to $12. Others pay the minimum $4. For those who can’t pay, they can receive lunch in exchange for cleaning for an hour.
- SAME Café, 2023 E. Colfax in Denver: The first non-profit restaurant in Denver, SAME Cafe gives its patrons two options: Give a donation in exchange for a meal or volunteer for a half hour. It has a menu that changes daily with mostly local and organic ingredients, as well as vegan and vegetarian options. (Psst, SAME is one of our favorite spots at Eave! That’s why we included it in our Insider’s Guide to Denver.)
- FoCo Café, 225 Maple St. in Fort Collins: At this Northern Colorado restaurant, customers can volunteer, pay what they are able, pay a suggested donation of $10 or make a larger donation for fresh-made soups, sandwiches and baked goods.
At Eave, we believe that safe housing is a human right. That’s why for every loan we fund, we donate money to help a mother in India build a safe home for her family. We call this mortgaging for good. Learn more here.