Commentary

Letters to the Editor

Homeless Is Where the Heart Is

Feelings, nothing more than feelings: While I have not lived in Denver since 1996, I still read Patricia Calhoun's columns faithfully each week. "Rise and Shine," in the November 13 issue, brought back an uneasy, helpless feeling I had while living downtown. My daily walk to work -- skirting the homeless, sometimes giving a dollar or two -- always brought these feelings. I now live in Scottsdale, Arizona, where "homeless" means people who live in a house without a pool.

While I had the means during my ten years in Denver, I never did anything to make life better for the homeless. Is it possible for me to send money to the subject of this story to help with the costs associated with this heroic effort?

Robert Case
via the Internet

Help is at hand: Thank you for the article about the Hoffers. It really resonated within me, as they have the courage to do what I've been wanting and dreaming of doing for a very long time. I've never found the guts to do it, only talked about it, and it's time for me to take action.

Veronica Pezoa
via the Internet

A better man: I want to express my prodigious fulfillment upon reading "Rise and Shine." I, for one, have been profoundly ignorant of the residence-challenged until I stumbled upon this article. This small yet compelling slice of the lost and rejected has converted my blatant ignorance into heartfelt inspiration. The celebrated Walt Whitman once said, "Charity and personal force are the only investments worth anything." Gloria, the Breakfast Lady, certainly personifies and carries out this quote with nothing but the goodness of her heart and whatever little money she can spare. She isn't trying to make proper citizens out of the rejected, she is simply displaying her genuine and benevolent self to others in need -- and sometimes what they need isn't money or shelter, but someone who sees them as ordinary people, much like anyone else.

I think what Gloria is doing is extraordinary and special; her story has certainly awakened this superficial man into honestly believing in not only the selflessness of great people, but better understanding of those who have succumbed to a life without a residence and love. I am profoundly moved, so much so that I've wiped away the tears and have embarked upon a more rewarding journey -- not for myself, but for others in this small world of ours. I hope I can shine a little light into someone's life before this journey is over, but my feats will never match what Gloria is doing for the homeless in Denver. She is a genuine angel.

Lastly, I want to commend Patricia Calhoun and Westword for bringing this story to my attention, and to the whole of Denver. It may not reach everyone, but it did enough to change my perspectives. Most important, it inspired me to want to make the world just a little bit better for everyone else. Once again, Westword reveals with brutal honesty what a worthy paper it is to the city.

Ken Rafferty
Centennial

Editor's note: Gloria and Darrell Hoffer say they're both moved and amazed by the response to their story. They do not accept monetary donations, but anyone is welcome to come join them some Saturday at Lawrence Street and Park Avenue West, where they start setting out breakfast for the homeless around 9 a.m. "We're not looking for anything," says Gloria. "We just want people to come down and meet and talk with them."


The Parent Trap

Rest in peace, Jasmine: After reading Julie Jargon's "Angel Eyes," in the November 6 issue, I felt compelled to write and express my deepest sympathies to the family and thanks for those who showed so much compassion and charity toward baby Jasmine, God rest her little soul. However, the blatant disregard and disrespect shown by the father and his family is unconscionable!

As the mother of a small toddler, I can relate to the concerns Caleena Burch had about the baby's father, and I cannot imagine the heartbreak she has endured because of her baby's death. However, I absolutely cannot understand why she chose to leave that helpless baby in the care of someone who she knew had already abused the child. I don't doubt that she needed time to think about her situation, but to leave that baby with an abuser while she went out and got drunk with friends was a very, very bad judgment call, to say the least! I do feel badly that her life has been turned upside down, but that could be because of her choice to leave that baby in the "care" of the abusive father. I wish her the best and hope that in the future she sorts herself out and, most important, will make better choices and always put her daughter first.

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