By Ann Bitela, VOICE vendor
My fondest Christmas memory was in December 2004 when I spent it at the Samaritan House, a Denver shelter. I had just lost my place due to a job loss. My company had gone out of business, and I had just ended an abusive relationship, so I needed a safe place to stay. I headed down to the shelter and was lucky enough to win their lottery for a four-month stay.
I was so happy and relieved. I thought, “Thank you Lord!” But it still was a sad and lonely time, since it was around the holidays. I soon settled in with my routine, getting used to the rules and schedules that applied to the house. The staff was great; they tried making it as cheerful and festive as they could, but my spirit was still low. No home, no job, and I was separated from my family, which made things even worse.
One thing I never lost was my faith. I kept praying for something good to come out of this dire situation. Christmas Eve we were all upstairs in the TV room when we heard an announcement to come downstairs. As I got to the bottom of the stairs, I saw a man with a bodyguard. The man was handing out $100 bills!
As the man handed me one of the bills, I told him, “You made our Christmas, thank you and God bless you.” Then I remembered my friend Maria, an elderly lady, had not made it downstairs, because it was hard for her to walk. I asked the man for an extra $100 to take to my friend. He handed me another bill without hesitation.
That man was like an angel. He gave me and everyone else a renewed sense of hope that night. This memory will always and forever be in my heart.
Thank you Samaritan House and mystery benefactor! ■