2021 In Review – 20th Anniversary

What a fast year! Come to think of it, that was a fast 20 years! 

As we celebrated our 20th birthday on November 1, it felt unreal. Two decades have passed like a dream. Everyone says about raising children, “The days are long but the years are short.” This has certainly been true in the Dry Bones world too. 

I’d like to share some numbers, updates, and perspective with you. But first, let me say Thank You. Thanks to all of you that have supported this mission through the years. We are overwhelmed and grateful. This very next year could not happen without you, much less the last 20. 

I have personally been in quite the nostalgic headspace this month. I’ve recounted old stories of countless street kids (like Crash, Crazy8, Cheeto, Pockets, and so many others), mourned the loss of the many we’ve said goodbye to (Mikey, Beau, and Bobby just recently), recounted crucial life-changing moments, and have meticulously gone through our list of cheerleaders, donors, and partners. 

My heart is so full as our team’s passion continues to grow. 

This mission has given my life such purpose and joy. I know many of you experience the same. Whether you are a donor, a visitor, a volunteer, or a former staff member, you each have a story to share of how your life intersected with this thing we call Dry Bones. I am in awe and so grateful for these intersections! I am appreciative of your part in this ongoing and growing story. 

Did you know, we estimate to have met somewhere in the neighborhood of 9-10,000  different young people experiencing houselessness here in Denver through these 20 years? We encounter about 900-1000 unduplicated people each year; some of which remain the same from one year to the next. We do our most intense work, digging into the depths of life, among an average of 80-100 young people at any given time. 

A few other notes that might be of interest include: 

  • Our Thursday Night home cooked meal tradition began in March of 2002. We’ve consistently hosted this family meal every Thursday night and have shared over 47,000 home cooked dinners on Thursdays alone. We’ve now hosted 1,015 “Dry Bones Nights” (gatherings on Thursdays); only missing 5 Thursdays in 20 years due to snowstorms. Other meals and gatherings happen throughout each week as well.
  • We have shared over 32,000 pairs of socks, hundreds of sleeping bags, showers, and loads of laundry. 
  • Each year, we offer approximately 375 therapy sessions, 1000 life coaching sessions, and countless on the spot moments of pastoral counseling. 
  • Dry Bones has obtained hundreds of critical life documents (birth certs, IDs, etc), attended approximately 500 court hearings, and just as many hospital visits through the years. 
  • Dry Bones has hosted 150 college students for summer internships, welcomed over 2000 teenagers through our Elevations Vision trip program, and enjoyed the service of approximately 4,000 volunteers. 
  • Purple Door Coffee has now employed 45 young people coming off the streets and has roasted over 82,000 pounds of ethically sourced beans. 

My prayer today is that Dry Bones continue to thrive and grow and impact the world. May young people experiencing homelessness and those of you that are housed alike discover nonnegotiable belonging, unconditional love, and live deeply from an innate knowledge of your God-given unsurpassable worth and value. 

As we begin our 21st year of ministry, we ask that you consider Dry Bones in your end of year and 2022 giving plans. Will you consider making a one-time donation or establishing a recurring gift to support Dry Bones and Purple Door that will enable the mission to continue to flourish? We ask that you remember this community in your prayers. We ask that you continue to believe in the life-giving power of profound yet simple, companionship. 

It continues to be our joy and passion to serve among America’s youth and young adults that seek their survival here on the Denver streets. The stories of new life and transformation, the genuine experiences in reciprocal love, along with the support of the Great Provider through you all truly sustains us. 20 years in, we confidently now declare, “These bones live!” 

With an ever-increasing belief in Love, 

Matt Wallace

On behalf of the entire Dry Bones team