With donation box empty, Denver homeless center asking community for help

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DENVER — Tucked in a back room at the St. Francis Center, a large white box is typically filled with bags of clothes.

The clothes are gently used donations, no longer needed in closets but desperately needed at one of Denver’s largest homeless centers.

In exchange for a chore at the center, or in the community nearby, people experiencing homelessness can pick out an entire outfit from the center’s “boutique.”

But Thursday night, the donation box sat empty.

“Once in a rare while we do see kind of a lull in donations,” said Crystal Rains. “And this is one of those times.”

Rains estimates 60 to 80 people shop at the boutique every day.

The St. Francis Center is open during the day, when nearby shelters are often closed.

They provide day services like meals and showers, in addition to housing and employment help, and the clothing boutique.

“Shirts, pants, socks, you name it, and St. Francis has it,” says Nora Dee.

Dee has been coming to the center for more than a year, where she does cleaning chores in exchange for clothing.

“It’s easier to find clothes here, and it’s stuff that we need,” she says. “It makes us real happy.”

The center put out a call to action on Facebook, asking for gently used pants, shirts, socks, and underwear.

“We look mostly for things for adults, so men and women, practical items,” says Rain.

Donations can be dropped off 7 days a week until 5:30 P.M.

The center is located at 2323 Curtis St.

“It would be amazing to fill the box,” said Rain.

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