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DENVER - About ten years ago at a concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater, singer Bette Midler reportedly challenged the audience, saying: "If you can afford these tickets, you can surely afford to help those in need."
7Everyday Hero Karen Nelson took that to heart. Today, this outstanding volunteer serves hundreds of homeless every week.
Every space that Nelson might call her own seems to be filled with things to help others. Her kitchen, dining room, garage and basement are all used to collect, organize and store food and clothing for those who live on the streets. In most rooms, the items are stacked to eye level.
"Karen eats, sleeps, and drinks homeless ministry. She rarely sleeps. She takes care of this whole process," said Nelson's pastor Eric Bain of Colorado Ridge Church in Westminster.
Nelson Ministries has been going strong for ten years.
With the help of volunteers from her family, neighborhood, and church, Nelson serves an estimated 500 to 700 people every week.
"This is truly a passion for her. She has dedicated her whole life, her whole house!" said volunteer Lori Walcott.
Everything is donated. And all of it is delivered to the streets by Nelson herself.
Anyone is welcome to come and get a hot meal, some snacks, and any clothing they might need.
"I go and help on a Saturday night and I get 50-plus thank yous from all the guys standing in line. I give hugs. I know some of the guys," said volunteer Rebekah Stertz.
"Every one of these people are valuable and Karen sees that, and she loves them. And they know they are loved," said Pastor Bain.
It is no wonder many people on streets call Karen Nelson the Angel of Denver.
"I believe I was put on this earth for a purpose and I really believe in this time of my life, during my retirement, this is what I am intended to be doing," said Nelson.