The Christmas Present

Associated Press

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Anonymous man Gives $35K to homeless

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

DENVER — Residents of Samaritan House didn’t know what to expect when
the
bearded, middle-aged man parked his sport utility vehicle in front of
the
downtown homeless shelter Christmas Eve.

The man walked into the building, pulled out a thick roll of $100 bills
and
began passing them out to each of the approximately 300 residents.

When he was finished, he had given out $35,000.

“It was like seeing Santa Claus and God all at once,” said William
Chengelis, who has lived at the shelter since November. “You hear about
stuff like that but you don’t think you’ll be there when it happens.”

As a crowd gathered, the man said he had once been homeless and knew
what it
was like to be in need. He did not identify himself and said only that
he
lived in Denver and had also distributed money at a Las Vegas shelter.

Possibly the man’s biggest single donation was $5,000 to a family of
six to
find housing. Louis Quezada, Tessa Wittner and their four children had
been
living with Quezada’s parents but were thrown out after an argument.
They
had been in the shelter several days.

“He asked if he gave us the money, would we get a house with it,” said
Quezeda, 23. “We said yes.”