Carmen, 58, knows what it’s like to be hungry and alone.
A native of Rota, Spain, Carmen was orphaned at a young age and never learned to read or write. She had jobs from age 7, and eventually moved to Denver to care for a disabled uncle. 
After he died, she found herself at a homeless shelter with only $40. She lived in shelters and on the streets for eight years until she got her own apartment eight months ago with help from the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless.
“I was too long on the streets and I saw too many bad things,” she says. “I don’t know if I would have made it much longer – the snow, the wind, the rain, everything is so bad in winter.”
Now a volunteer for the Bienvenidos monthly Mobile Pantry on West Colfax, Carmen greets families, many of whom are in temporary housing or unhoused themselves.
“I see their faces and their eyes tell me a lot,” she says. “One guy had tears in his eyes and told me he had food now because of the food bank – and I thank God for that too.”
Carmen is grateful to have an apartment with a door she can close and a window she can open. She shares it with her dog, Chico. She’s happy to be able to give back by volunteering with Bienvenidos.
“It means a lot for me to volunteer at the food bank,” she says. “If you were never hungry, you wouldn’t understand that.”