“I don’t know where I am at in my life, I work in the deli. I’m a sandwich slave, I sold my soul to capitalism. I tell myself that it’s worth it because I’m saving up for a hippy van and I want to continue my travels. There is a lot of places in the world I want to see, actually I made a list earlier today, but it’s not done. Yellow Stone National Park is first. I went there when I was a kid, my parents took me and my two sisters on a cross country trip and we stopped there and it was just really beautiful. I remember thinking that it was unreal, except I was seeing it with my eyes, so you know its real, but it’s just so majestic. I want to go back there, now that I am a photographer and I’m older and appreciate nature and natural beauty.”
Last Friday Sox Place was blessed by the presence of organizations, Favor’s Project and For the Love of Paws Rescue, who ended up making a difference in the lives of street kids and their pets. By the end of the day Twenty-two pets received vaccinations, deworming, and treatment for fleas and ticks and a check up provided by Veterinarian Dr. Jeff Barin. Dog baths were provided by Chuck and Don’s Pet store from Lakewood and there was additional help from DMK rehoming and The San Luis Valley Animal Welfare Society.
The teams of volunteers unpacked their vehicles full of boxes containing mass amounts of dog food, leashes, collars, and doggy treats. For the Love of Paws provided all the vaccines that would be given to the dogs and one very brave cat.
“If these kids went to a vet and asked for vacs, this is everything that they would get,” said Jenn with For the Love of Paws.
The doors opened at noon, but many of the kids began gathering in the back, dogs in hand, as early as 9:00 a.m. waiting for the green light to grab food and sign their loyal companions up for a day of care.
Nancy from San Luis Valley Animal Welfare Society met each dog and owner, getting them on the waiting list to get in to see the doc.
Many of these dogs are on the road, or haven’t had the vaccines they need due to the lack of education and cost, leaving their pets vulnerable for infection and disease. The volunteers were a beacon of hope in the lives of these homeless pet owners by providing 100% free love and care.
Dogs are very common for street kids to have. As a pet owner myself, I understand that a dog or cat is not just a furry face, they become family members. Dogs are a fountain of unconditional love and loyalty when treated well, and many of these kids have never experienced that kind of treatment from the families they were born into, so it’s no surprise that dogs are so common among the homeless youth.
Records and documentation of the updated treatment for the pets were kept and handed out to each one of their owners. All the volunteers were so well informed and answered a lot of questions that these kids had about proper treatment.
There’s no doubt the genuine love and compassion that all the volunteers felt for both our street kids and their pets.
This past month has been full, the kind of full that makes you want to just take a nap and hope all the obligations and appointments go away when you wake up. My days fly by reminding me of a game I would play when I was a child. Spinning round and round until the colors were blurred and my feet began to wobble, I recall hitting the ground as I lost complete balance and I would watch as the room would continue to spin and I would wait for my eyes to catch up with the room. I would sit and wait calmly before getting up, for I knew if I stood up too quickly I would just fall back down again.
Do you ever find yourself caught in a storm of a day that leaves your soul spinning, or a week, perhaps even several months at a time? When seasons of “busy” wash on to the shore of your life, where nothing seems to be slowing down, hours seem to pass in a blink of an eye and before you know it you’re playing catch up with life.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30 ESV
I feel as if the control over my life is slowly slipping through my fingers, and that’s scary, because I don’t know what will happen if I let go. Maybe it’s not a matter of letting go, perhaps it’s a matter of prioritizing.
It’s important to know and understand what should take precedent in life, and for me personally, it’s important to understand what Jesus says about where my priorities need to be. I have my relationship with Christ, fueling hope, to ground me, to keep my world from spinning, but it’s a matter of letting my legs fall and rest in the life of Christ.
Some of the kids here at Sox Place find their grounding in music, art, or hope for money to come, and for some kids, their grounding place is Sox Place, when their life has been flipped, or their tired of traveling. What do you hope for? What grounds you when life begins to spin?
“Hope for the future, hope that I get to be in an apartment again, the hope that at some point I’ll finish my art, my music. My friends keep holding me up, relationships help me stay strong…” said Emmanuel. He had his circumstances changed too quickly, and has now ended up on the streets.
“For three years I had control over my situation and all of a sudden I lost my place and my mother, and it was just too much,” said Emmanuel.
For Brian, another one of our friends, music is what moves him, grounds him, and gives him purpose. He’s always happy to be here and share different songs that he’s working on, even when he only has three strings on his guitar.
“I’ve been playing guitar since I was 10 years old, music is what keeps me hopeful,” said Brian.
When times get dizzying, and hope becomes scarce, Sox Place is here to be a landing place for street kids. A place to find rest and solitude. It’s a place that street kids and travelers can sit and wait for the room to quit spinning, before trying to stand again.
Would you like to help give to Sox Place, but don’t know where to start? Here’s a couple of ways you can benefit our drop in center for street youth in Denver!
Buy our merch: http://www.soxplace.bigcartel.com/
Donate directly: http://soxplace.com/donate/
Shop at AmazonSmile, Amazon donates 0.5% of the purchase price to Sox Place Inc. Bookmark the linkhttp://smile.amazon.com/ch/73-
Have you ever wondered if the men and women standing on the street corners asking for help, actually need it? I know I have. Their broken down cardboard signs, signed off with a “God Bless” tugs at my heart strings every time. I want to help those that are in need, but how do I know what I donate; money, food, or otherwise is actually going to someone who really needs my help? I know that not all people with signs asking for assistance actually need it, and I also know there’s a lot of people who aren’t asking for help, that actually really need it. So what’s a “giver” to do?
That’s where organizations like Sox Place come in. By providing food, clothing, diapers, dog food, socks, underwear, and other sanitary items to help street kids, Sox Place has become a popular place for the youth on the streets to spend their days. Everyone who attends Sox Place has a story, many have been kicked out of their homes, grew out of the foster care system, or are enduring financial hardship.
Creating meaningful relationships is at the core of what Sox Place does by loving and supporting those that really do need help. I sat down with Nathan, one of our frequent attenders who expressed his gratitude for Sox Place and how it has changed his life.
“This place, is a little more real than some of the other resources in Denver who always make it feel like they have to be there for us, but Sox Place is here because they genuinely want to help us out,” Nathan said. “I’ve come into Sox Place depressed many times, but I always leave feeling like a much better person. There’s always people around here who I know are going through the same things I’m going through. They’re really listening to me and I’m listening to them and we connect. I always end up feeling better about my situation when I leave here.”
Sox Place is here to serve kids that are on the streets, struggling to survive by providing more than just food and clothing. We also provide job training by offering internships to help build a resume for kids that are looking to work.
“They gave me an internship, which was really cool, and a great learning experience. Over the past four years Sox Place has given me food when I needed it, a place to sleep during the day and provided me a chance to get to know a lot of people and now I have a family. It’s a really great place to be,” said Nathan.
Nathan’s contagious smile that usually sits spread across his face turned serious as we began to discuss what he really would like from society. It was clear that he’s grateful for the food, clothing and shelter that has been given to him, but the one thing he yearns for, and what continues to bring him back to Sox Place is being treated like a regular human being.
“I would like for society to treat us more like people. Everyday hundreds of people walk down the mall and see a homeless person and just walk on by, avoiding eye contact. They don’t acknowledge us as actual people, they don’t acknowledge us as actual humans, they only see us as HOMELESS PEOPLE and not human beings, and that hurts,” Nathan said, slightly raising his voice full of sincerity.
What makes people in suit and ties better than people in donated or thrifted clothing? What constitutes them to have the right to a happy life, versus kids who have left an abusive home, or the foster care system? I saw the hurt in Nathan’s eyes when we began to talk about the rest of society, that had a safe home to return to.
“The difference between us and them is they have a lot of stuff, so they have this superiority complex, they believe they’re better than us. What they don’t understand is if their house burned down in a fire, they could easily be in the same position we’re in, it could happen to anyone. I didn’t think it would happen to me, and I’m out here,” he said.
What Nathan brought to my attention was that, having more things doesn’t make you a superior human, and America, and most civilized countries base their worth on profits and consumerism. Homeless, poor, rich, middle class, we’re all humans and more than things, all humans want to be treated as humans, as equals. Loved, accepted, and feeling worth something.
It’s easy to point the blame at society and demand equal treatment to those that are homeless and those that aren’t, but what does that even begin to look like? I was shocked by Nathan’s answer as he began to list things that he noticed, were unfair.
“If we were treated as equals places wouldn’t charge excessive amounts of money to use the bathroom, just because we have no where else to go. We wouldn’t be harassed for having to sleep outside, and we would be allowed to sit down on the mall during daylight hours. There would be no such thing as an urban camping ban,” said Nathan.
I’ve personally never been charged to use a bathroom, I’ve never been harassed for sitting down on the sixteenth street mall on a hot summer day, and this is all due to how I look. I look like I’m not homeless, therefore I don’t get harassed. Next time you encounter a street kid, treat them as your equal.
If you are looking to help those in need, help by donating or supporting organizations like Sox Place, that treat street kids like the equals that they are and provide them with the help they actually need. Volunteer in your communities, when you go out to dinner box up the extra food and find a street kid to feed, donate your clothes to Sox Place or local shelters, or buy a Sox Place shirt which helps fund us and keep our doors open! These are all great ways to get involved and make your community a better place.
There’s not many places I like to be without my camera. Maybe that’s because my Dad always had a camera in his hands, always snapping pictures, trying to be the invisible fly one the wall, but at six-foot-seven-inches, being invisible is pretty close to impossible. He taught me how to hold my camera, focus, point, click, and capture. Overtime I grew attached to my camera, because I too loved feeling like a fly on the wall.
Still a bit nervous and feeling like the “new girl” interning at Sox Place, it becomes very comfortable for me to whip out my camera and begin snapping and shooting away, capturing emotions and people that fill the four walls that houses Sox Place. These are the people I want to tell others about, these are the faces that are teaching me about life, life that is hard, but life that is worth living. This week I had my camera out, hiding my face behind the bulky body and capturing life here at Sox Place.
Mellow, one of the frequent visitors began to ask me about my interest in photography. I don’t claim myself a professional but I was happy to show off some of the action shots I had captured that afternoon. Quickly, Mellow began digging through the pack claiming to have something to show me.
I wasn’t sure what to expect, but then Mellow whipped out a red package with white polka dots, housing and protecting little printed photographs. I reached out to ask if I could look closer at the photographs. They were all little moments that were telling a greater story of travel and being unsure about the future. One photograph was an image of a street sign in New Orleans and on the back it was captioned “Left…or Right?”
It must have been obvious that I was sincerely interested in the photo with the street sign, as Mellow began to speak “You can have one if you would like, take whichever one is your favorite.” I felt my mouth kind of drop and shoot a look that must have begged the question “are you sure?” This small gift, a simple photograph, changed the rest of my week, as I’m sitting here and writing about it!
The people that come to Sox Place don’t have very much. They have what they need, and what they can carry on their person or back. Many of them come to Sox Place to get necessities that they have run out of. Even in their simplicity of living with necessities, Mellow still decided to be giving. I hope I never forget that moment, and currently I have the photograph gifted to me, in a special place so that I see it every day. What a beautiful reminder that even when I feel that I have little, there’s always something to give, big or small, you never know the weight or impact that gift will make in the life of the receiver.
It’s amazing to me that people that have so little, can still be so giving. Yet there are so many in this world that are well off and comfortable amongst their belongings that won’t give, or only give little. Humbled by Mellow’s gift, I reflect on Luke 21:1-4
Jesus1 looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, 2 and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. 3 And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. 4 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
If you would like to give to Sox Place, but you don’t know where to start, take a look at our Merch Store! When you buy from us, it helps keep our doors open, and continue to make a difference in lives that need to be shown love, forgiveness, grace. Plus you get a Sox Place swag. Win Win! We appreciate and love all donations made to Sox Place, comment below if you have any questions!
So many people come and go from Sox Place on a daily basis, taking only what they need and leaving what they don’t. So far I’ve met many people who are experiencing life’s tragedies and pressing health conditions, some that would leave any body hopeless about what the future holds.
And yet that doesn’t stop so many of those that visit us from enjoying what life has to offer. There’s so many stories here at Sox Place, stories that are perfect depictions of bravery, courage, and capture a passion for life when all seems lost. How many are on this planet today living this way?
It seems like the passion for living gets lost somewhere on the commute to work or school. Millions of people just following the status quo, doing what they’re told, just breathing to stay alive, but there’s not a whisper of a thrill in the time that goes by.
The people at Sox Place remind myself to live with passion. Don’t be afraid to be hopeful for what the future may hold. There’s no sense in living a life that’s empty but “successful”. There’s no sense in allowing for the curve balls to kill the joy that comes from the heart. When the going gets tough it’s easy to fall into sadness and self pity, but it takes work to get up everyday and dance.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)
If you would like to contribute to Sox Place and you don’t know where to start, check our new merch page out!
It’s the last week of July, and Denver is not cooling down. The sun rises early and sets late, and the streets of Downtown soak up the heat making it almost impossible to escape the heat. In the midst of the hustle of Denver, Sox Place opens its doors to the public.
What is Sox Place? It may be many different things to many different people, but in the midst of it all, it is a place where one can find healing and refuge from the blistering sun or the frigid Colorado air, it is a place one can find rest and a hot meal, it is a safe place.
Life for anyone can spin out of control, it can unravel and in a blink of an eye, our carefully tended to worlds can be flipped upside down. In times like these some may seek serenity in different places. I know for myself I have found peace in the midst of life’s storms in nature. I love spending time exploring God’s great creation, away from the hustle of city life and the business life sucks us all into sometimes. We all need those places of refuge, whether we are train riders, people fighting to get off the streets, or even people who appear to have it all together with steady jobs or what society tells us is a normal life.
For many people, Sox Place is a place to find rest and a hot meal, and meaningful relationships. I know personally sometimes life can feel like there are no people who actually care, and the world can be cruel. Physically Sox Place has spaces for people to rest their tired feet, and cool off especially in the midst of this hot summer in Denver. But it’s also a place to rest their mind and spirit. It’s a beacon of light in a dark world, bringing love and acceptance to people that have been treated like gum on the bottom of societies shoe for too long.
Where do you spend time in order to find refuge and peace? Let us know in the comments below!
A “sanctuary” as a consecrated place and a place of refuge and protection. Historically speaking, all great religious, political and business leaders had a “sanctuary” – a place for deep thought, prayer, meditation, re-grouping, and refreshing.
“Sanctuaries” are also places for respite and restoration of those people who just need a break. Sox Place is a “sanctuary” for the street youth who come from around the country for a meal, a place to rest, a place to find themselves, and, at times, to find others. We, at Sox Place, believe that this is holy ground and a “sanctuary” for those who are rejected elsewhere. We serve to offer hope to those who need it.
Hear from our current intern’s perspective on her first couple of interactions at Sox Place. One of the demographics we serve here at Sox Place is what’s called a train rider. Check out what Courtney has to say about these select individuals below.
This week marked my third week at Sox Place. I’ve been learning a heck of a lot but one of the coolest things is about the train riders.
Train riders are people who hop on boxcars and travel across the country. Its more than just a hobby for these people though- it’s a lifestyle. They’ll come through different cities for a few weeks at a time and hang out, meet people to trace with, get new food and clothes etc.. they have a very distinct look to them. Once you know what a train rider looks like, you can spot them from a mile away. They wear clothes that look like something from an army surplus store, black boots, hats and vests with patches all over them, (most of the time) a variety of grateful dead items, and a plethora of stick and poke tattoos. Some of them have tattoos of train-tracks or the railroad crossing sign. Lots of the girls have dreads and lots of the dudes have beards. They’re cool. Really cool.
They have incredible stories, too. Incredible. Since my job is to love on people and get to know them, I’ve had the chance to hear some pretty cool tales from the train riders. lots of their stories are heart-breaking to hear, especially the ones about friends they’ve lost because of how dangerous jumping trains is.
Its a weird lifestyle choice to most of us- but for a lot of them, it’s an adventurous way to escape from their problems.
a lot of these people come from broken homes or places of poverty and abuse, and instead of staying in one place on the streets, they choose to travel by train. Today a rider named sideshow bob told me that once you start riding, you either hate it or fall in love. and most of the time, it’s the latter. It’s a way for these people who’ve been dealt a bad hand in life to make themselves happy and fulfilled through travel and the newness that comes with sneaking around the train yard and hopping in box cars.
The cool thing about being at Sox Place, is seeing how my bosses’ willingness to show them God’s love has made a mark in the hearts of the train riders. The idea here at Sox Place is to love people with an open heart and arms like Christ has. And I can tell you after being there for only 3 weeks, that it WORKS.
Without being preached at or condemned, some of the train riders who are here in Denver right now asked Doyle (my boss) to take them to church last sunday. They see there’s something different in him and want to find it.
Today was the last day in Denver (for a while) for this group of train riders who have been at sox the past few weeks. It was hard saying goodbye to some of the friends I’ve made, but what happened when they left was chillingly awesome.
They asked Doyle to pray over them before they left. so hannah, myself, Doyle, and about 7 train riders stood in a circle as Doyle prayed over them. It was emotional and beautiful to hear Doyle pray for their safety and that they see the love of Christ. the real, raw, love of Christ. These train riders are incredible and have a special place in my heart.
So whenever you see a train, think of Bob, Ogre, Boone, Scott, and Ricochet who travel dangerously across the country. Think about the people like them who do crazy stuff daily and pray that they remain safe, sober, warm, and fed. and most of all, that they know they have a loving Savior who thinks about them constantly.
For the latter six years of the twelve year ministry of Sox Place, we called 2017 Larimer St our home. This was the second location we moved to, after opening up the organization in 2002 on Lawrence street. After two very hard weeks of moving, organizing and cleaning, we are happy to announce that Sox Place is settling back into our original building on Lawrence street.
To kick off the grand re-opening of Sox Place and the celebration of our executive director’s 60th Birthday, we had a cook out with lots of new and old kids and even a few board members. It was a great time. With full stomaches and full hearts, we can happily say we are glad we are home.
These guys came out to Denver to help frame our doors and build Sox Place a new bathroom.
Jordan cooked over 280 hot dogs within the first hours we re-opened. Way to go Jordan!
Doyle visiting with a board member and some kids.