Freezing night brings hundreds into Denver Rescue Mission this weekend

Denver Rescue Mission housed a record number of guests, while other shelters are at capacity.

People stand across the street from the Denver Rescue Mission. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

People stand across the street from the Denver Rescue Mission. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Donna Bryson. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Denver-area shelters are starting to see an uptick in people seeking shelter as the elements grow harsher.

The Denver Rescue Mission alone sheltered more people experiencing homelessness Saturday than on any other night so far this winter.

In all, 820 beds were taken at Lawrence Street and two other Denver Rescue Mission facilities on Saturday, spokeswoman Nicole Tschetter said. On Sunday night, the number dropped slightly to 740 shelter guests. The mission’s highest one-night figure last November was 718.

“We typically see the number of guests rise as temperatures drop,” she added.  “It’s vital to get people into a warm bed and provide them with a warm meal as well.”

Also increasing: the number of meals.

“On Saturday we served 1,193 meals between breakfast, lunch and dinner,” Tschetter said. “Dinner was our biggest with 543 meals. On Sunday we served 1,128 meals.”

Salvation Army Intermountain Division spokesperson Rachael Fowler said Monday their center has been at capacity “every night” with 490 guests on Saturday night and 488 on Sunday night.

“When we’re full, we send people elsewhere through busses run through the city,” Fowler said. “On Saturday night, we sent one bus of 54 clients to Rescue Mission and referred seven others elsewhere.”

Emily Latimer of Volunteers of America Colorado Branch said their site at 29th Street and Lawrence Street has also been filled to capacity “every night since the summer.”

“With the number of families experiencing homelessness in the Denver Metro Area increasing, this will likely continue through all seasons,” Latimer said.

The Denver Rescue Mission is still looking for turkey donations. 

Tschetter said they currently have 12,119 turkeys as of 1 p.m. Monday, which means they need less than 3,000 turkeys to reach their 15,000 turkey goal before Nov. 21.

“Because we are handing out turkeys as fast as they are coming in, we are hoping to hit our total today or tomorrow — especially with us giving out 3,000 Thanksgiving Banquets-In-A-Box tomorrow,” Tschetter said. “We have been so fortunate this holiday season with volunteers, and are almost at max capacity for volunteers for November and December. However, we really encourage people that we need volunteers all year round, not just during the holiday season.”

If you would like to donate money for turkeys, check out the Denver Rescue Missions’s website.

Esteban Hernandez contributed to this report.

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