We are nearly out of clean, white athletic socks to hand out to our youth. Clean socks are one of the most needed items among our kids. Most of our youth do not have the means to wash their clothing on a regular basis. They also spend countless hours on their feet, walking many miles per day in dirty socks. Clean socks can make a huge difference in the lives of our youth. Donations of clean, white athletic socks can be dropped off at 2017 Larimer St. Denver, CO 80205 between 9:30 and 4:00 Tuesday-Friday and 9:30-2:00 on Saturdays.
Clean socks can make a huge difference in the lives of our youth.
Last week we pulled a few of our youth aside to share what Sox Place means to them. We asked them to describe Sox Place in a word or a sentence in the interest of brevity. Smiley, Sugar Bear, Ashley, Clarissa, James, Leroy, Char, Brandi, Damage, Charlie, Elias, Bernadette, Shane, Seven, Milo, Daniel, Amanda, and Dougie each share what Sox Place means to them. It is encouraging to hear the impact that our organization and our staff have had on the street youth of Denver over the years. We focus on building long-term relationships with our youth. We meet them where they are and love them for who they are. It is through this love that our youth are able to see such amazing change in their lives, and it is only with the support of people like you that we can realize their true potential. Please consider supporting Sox Place today.
Mike (also known on the streets as “Squirrel”) shares his story about life on the streets and how the staff at Sox Place have helped him. Mike now works as an intern at Sox Place Screen Printing.
We know you love eating out.
Why not help homeless youth in the process?
Sox Place’s Food Themed Online Auction begins Thursday, May 30th at 7:00 p.m. (MST). Don’t miss out! It only lasts until Friday, June 7th at 7:00 p.m.
Don’t forget to invite all your friends, too!
To participate, create an account here, and get ready to bid beginning on May 30th. Winners will be contacted by Sox Place to arrange for payment and pick up.
If you would like to see how the auction will work, you can go to the website’s demo auction.
Take a peak at some of our auction items. We have a variety of restaurant and food related gift cards and one non-food related item (something for the fuzzy members of the family) for you to bid on. Didn’t get to participate in the last online auction because of where you live? No worries! We have both local and chain restaurant gift cards as auction items, so everyone can be a part! We will be adding more before the auction begins, so keep checking back.
Note: Be sure and check the description of each item before bidding, as some items are only for specific locations.
“You ready?” I asked Ogre.
“Yup,” she replied with a smile on her dirty face. “I only let myself have one drink this morning so I would be sober while I speak.” I could tell she was proud of herself.
“Great! Let’s go!”
We were driving over an hour to introduce some ladies to Sox Place. Ogre had been coming to Sox Place off-and-on for ten years. She is a train rider – a traveler – if this was 100 years ago, she’d be called a hobo – a train hopper. If you’ve never experienced train riders, then, well, let’s just say they are dirty. They usually have mud and soot on their skin to the point that you don’t know if they are tan or just dirty. They smell like a mixture of a boy’s high school locker room after football practice and the bottom of a bar’s dumpster after an especially wild Friday night. And they never wash their clothes because, according to them, the dirt is what is preventing the fabric from completely falling apart. Ogre was no different, and she knew it.
In addition to being a traveler, Ogre proclaims to be a Christian, and I have no reason to doubt her. Sure, she has a problem with alcohol and she swears more than a poorly made R-rated action movie. However, she is constantly trying to live in a way that pleases God, even though she knows she fails in many ways.
So, here we were, on an hour-plus car ride. Train riders may not be pretty to look at, but they have some of the best stories. One in particular stood out to me, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it:
Being a good Southern girl, one Sunday Ogre decided she wanted to step into a church to hear “the Word.” She sat in the back, with her Bible, ready to be fed. But before the sermon even began, a deacon, in all his suit-and-tie glory, came up to Ogre and asked her to leave because she was “too dirty.”
I’ve heard many-a sermon on accepting people in the church and many-a story about how people aren’t, but to hear such a blatant story of unacceptance blew my mind. I was angry. How dare this man – who represented a church, who was supposed to represent Christianity, and, in that way, me, and ultimately represented Christ – show such the opposite of a Christ-like love? I could begin to feel a hatred for this man, whom I had never met.
As that day – and the days after – wore on, Ogre’s story stayed with me. I soon realized (with a nudge from the Holy Spirit, I’m sure) that I had no right to hold a grudge against this man. We all, including me, have Ogres in our lives – those people we’d rather not have in our church. We may not verbally tell them to leave, but we wish they would. And we don’t do anything that would make them think otherwise. Even the disciples had their Ogres.
Think of the Samaritan woman from John 4. She, also, was a dirty woman. She was a Samaritan (think Mudblood), a woman (gasp!), and an adulterer (dirty sinner!). Three strikes of dirtiness. The disciples knew it and wondered why Jesus was even talking to such a woman (v 27). But we all know the end of the story. Because Jesus displayed such compassion toward this woman, the whole town came to him (v 28-30).
Who are the Ogres and Women at the Well in your life? Who are the ones that deserve to be shown Christ-like love even though it is the last thing you want to do?
The young adult with too many body modifications?
The homosexual couple that holds hands on the back pew?
The parents whose children need some discipline?
The teen who wears too-short skirts?
The middle-aged man who wears a three piece suit and thinks everyone else should too?
The little old lady who always complains about the music?
My Ogre is the guy who tells people to leave because they are too dirty. I want to say, “If you don’t show Christ’s love to others, then you don’t deserve to feel Christ’s love through me.”
But, of course, that’s not true. Everyone deserves Christ’s compassionate love. As with the woman at the well, such love may result in remarkable things for the Kingdom!
It was a crisp, cool morning in Boulder, Colorado. I pedaled along the Boulder Creek Trail, soaking in the sights and sounds of an early spring morning. A breeze danced through the bare trees, causing the cracked and weathered branches to gently sway as I pedaled past. The drivetrain on my aluminum road bike hummed quietly as I crossed arched wooden bridges, observing the clear, rippling water beneath me.
I left the trail and rode past Pearl Street, watching as a few pedestrians peered at touristy kitsch through expansive store windows. I rolled into the littered alleyway between Pine and Spruce on Broadway, dismounting my bike as I coasted to a stop outside of the Boulder Carriage House – a tiny homeless day shelter that served the homeless and working poor of the city. I had been volunteering once a week during my free time as a student at CU-Boulder, serving healthy meals and providing necessities to those who needed it most.
Up until this point, I knew next to nothing about the homeless, or even homelessness in general. Like most Americans, I was completely oblivious to the relentless challenges that so many of our brethren face on a daily basis as they struggle to survive, often reiterating extremely narrow-sighted and ignorant stereotypes that far oversimplified the problems of homelessness. Months prior, I had read a book that had completely challenged my way of thinking. It was a little paperback book entitled The Irresistible Revolution. Author Shane Claiborne writes:
“…I think that’s what our world is desperately in need of – lovers, people who are building deep, genuine relationships with fellow strugglers along the way, and who actually know the faces of the people behind the issues they are concerned about.”
These were the words that urged me to step away from my ignorance and inaction and step into a world that I had never previously dared to enter.
I learned invaluable lessons during the eighteen months that I worked as a volunteer at The Carriage House. I found out that individuals struggling to survive on the outskirts of society could not be condensed into neat little statistics to be analyzed. I met incredible people and heard amazing stories of perseverance and heartbreak, of hope and hopelessness. As I began to build relationships with the poor and marginalized of my city, I began to deeply understand things that I had only previously speculated about, and it broke my heart.
I began to realize how truly broken our world is, and that not one thing, save the Love of our Father, could ever provide a true solution to such a corrupted system.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Now, over two years later, I work for a homeless youth drop-in center where I share life with homeless and at-risk youth on a daily basis. We hear so many horrendously heart-breaking stories from our kids, and it causes me to truly weep over such seemingly irreparable brokenness. But over time, my heart can begin to become calloused because of the number of stories we hear and the incomprehensible magnitude of each one. As someone who works in the fields of non-profit and ministry, I have found that this is an extremely common occurrence. We are often forced to choose to either not let these horrible stories affect us, or to let our hearts break apart countless times each day, forcing us to pick up the pieces at each days’ end.
Over and over again, we are forced to choose to either merely serve the surface-level needs of our youth, such as food, clothing, and housing assistance, or to truly love each of our kids on a deeply spiritual and emotional level, allowing ourselves to be completely broken and vulnerable. Henri Nouwen describes it best:
“Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into the places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. Compassion requires us to be weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable, and powerless with the powerless. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human.”
Compassion calls us to step beyond the borders of society, even completely erasing them in the process. Compassion urges us to love with reckless abandon as we attempt to reassemble the broken pieces of those we serve and so dearly love. It forces us to love with purpose and in action, not merely with words. It challenges us to allow ourselves to be as broken as the hearts of those we care for, and it can change everything.
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On Tuesday night, March 19th, Doyle spoke in Evergreen for Cub Scout Pack 119 about Sox Place and compassion. Rob Lantz, one of our board members, is the pack leader. Thanks, Pack 119, for having Doyle speak and for the socks you brought!