Arvada Youth Teams With Catholic Charities, Friends and Neighbors to Help the Homeless

Dropping off the donations at Samaritan House

This fall, as John Fielding Toronto was preparing to plan and organize an Eagle Scout project, his father suggested that he contact Mark Hahn, who is over Volunteer and Parish Relations at Catholic Charities, for service project ideas.  Mark was a great help to John Fielding, putting him in touch with Denver’s Samaritan House, a Catholic Charities shelter for homeless members of the Denver community.  Mark also volunteered that Arvada’s St. Joan of Arc Catholic church might also be interested in announcing and supporting the project.

Inspired by these contacts, and leveraging relationships of his own, John Fielding immediately set to work organizing a project to collect travel-sized personal hygiene and other related items to be donated to the Samaritan House.  In particular, John coordinated announcements at Arvada’s St. Joan of Arc parish as well as in his own home congregation (the Arvada First Ward) of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in addition to using the “Nextdoor” neighborhood social media platform and making door to door contacts throughout his own neighborhood.

Following weeks of announcements, distribution of flyers and posters, and ultimately coordination of an extensive collection process, John Fielding and a number of fellow scouts, friends and family members gathered and organized products donated for the project.

Sorting out all the donations!

On December 21, 2018, John Fielding and a number of family members drove to the Samaritan House to donate the nearly 350 pounds of hygiene items donated for the project.  Driving up to the shelter, John Fielding and his family had the bittersweet experience of seeing precious homeless neighbors line the streets around the shelter–knowing that this Christmas would be profoundly challenging for these individuals, yet also knowing that the kindness and generosity of scores of friends and neighbors would bring some comfort and relief to the local homeless population–creating a greater feeling of the Savior’s peace and love looking forward to the New Year.

Recognizing that this local effort was but one of thousands of similarly inspiring Eagle Scout projects previously performed by other Boy Scouts and, in this particular season, #LightTheWorld service projects by Latter-day Saints and neighbors around the world, John Fielding noted, “I am grateful to see the support we can have as a community, and as people of faith, in the world.  Each little act, when added together, can really make a great difference.”

John Fielding would like to thank Arvada Boy Scout Troop 31 and its leaders, the Arvada First Ward, the St. Joan of Arc parish, Catholic Charities (including Mark Hahn and his amazing team of dedicated, Christ-centered staff), and other friends and neighbors who generously participated in this Eagle Project.

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