Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

University collects hundreds of coats for Denver Rescue Mission

Thanks to the efforts of the University of Denver community, some of the city’s neediest people will stay warmer this winter season.

Approximately 600 winter items were donated during the DU Staff Advisory Council’s “Pioneers for People” coat drive, which benefits the Denver Rescue Mission. Items — including coats, hats, scarves and gloves — were collected at various drop-off locations around campus Jan. 8–20.

Denver Rescue Mission staffers picked up the items last week.

“The coats collected through this wonderful drive will make such a huge impact in the lives of the poor and needy men, women and children we serve as they face cold Colorado winter day and nights,” says Lisette Williams, manager of community events and procurement at the Denver Rescue Mission.

Christa Bruning, president of the Staff Advisory Council, says that although this year’s coat drive wasn’t quite as successful as last year’s drive, which collected 720 items, the organization is still grateful to be able to help those in need.

A weakened economy has hindered donation numbers in the past two years, Bruning explains. In 2008, 1,300 items were collected.

Kindness has still prevailed in the wake of a recession, Williams says. In general, donation items have been more common rather than monetary contributions to the Denver Rescue Mission.

One DU staffer donated a significant amount of time to the drive. Sherry Lestina, an administrative assistant in University Advancement, spent about 100 hours knitting 25 hats for the cause.

“The hats are a very easy project and a little yarn goes a long way,” she says.

Lestina, who says she’s has been knitting and crocheting since she was 8 years old, made the hats specifically for the coat drive over the past year.

“I know they are going to a good cause,” Lestina says. “It’s just a little thing, but I hope it helps.”

The Denver Rescue Mission is a nonprofit dedicated to providing shelter, food, clothing, education, work discipline and other opportunities for the poor.


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