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The GIVE Denver Center: Volunteerism is at the heart of the Dept. of Human Services project

The newest service at the Denver Human Services Building is a completely volunteer- and donation-based project known as The GIVE Denver Center.

Stationed on the first floor of DHS, at 1200 Federal Boulevard, this small spot is doing big things for the people of Denver.

Although DHS didn't have a budget for the center, that didn't stop employees from volunteering their time to create the space, which stocks donated necessities for struggling families, including diapers, formula, personal hygiene items and related products. "Denver Department of Human Services never wants to turn someone away empty-handed," says Patricia Garcia, DHS program administrator for the GIVE Denver Center. "We want them to know that this is a place of safety for them where they can come and have their needs met in a variety of ways. Not just traditionally...through our other services, but also creatively, through partnerships with the community."

Denver City Councilman Paul Lopez, who was at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the center last month, says it will be a big help to the city. "It's not like we're getting any more resources from the federal government or state. And when that happens, that means we have to turn to each other," Lopez explains. "Despite the community being in the situation it is, this is a community that gives; this is a community that understands that the average person is not that far removed from having to stand in the welfare line.... In some cases, the one pencil you give a child that they receive here might be the pencil that gets them all the way to the university."

The center hits home for Lopez, since he had to take advantage of some of the same resources as a child. "I never forgot what a food stamp felt like in your hands," he says. "I never forgot what powered milk tastes like or canned peanut butter they expect you to make dinner with. We should never forget where we come from, or forget to lend that hand to the one who helped us."

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Donations to the center, including cash, are accepted year-round; special donation opportunities, including school supplies and book drives, are listed on the center's website at denvergov.org/give, where you can also find information about volunteering. The center is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday-Thursday.

Look below to see photos and captions from the grand opening, courtesy of the GIVE Denver Center.

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