"Our guests are my heroes"
After a lifetime of dedication to the community Maria Lopez is retiring! Help us send her off in style!
When St. Elizabeth Shelter opened its doors in 1986 Maria Lopez was there to volunteer. Two years later, she became volunteer coordinator and in 1989 program manager of the Men's Emergency Shelter– a position she has held for 30 years!
It is not an understatement to say that St. Elizabeth is the place it is today because of Maria.
On March 1st Maria Lopez will be retiring. Over her 31 year tenure she has watched St. E's organization grow and contributed immensely whether it is bringing awareness to the community, assisting thousands experiencing homelessness, training hundreds of interns, collaborating with thousands of volunteers, or establishing infrastructure for various programs, Maria has been there every step of the way. Maria maintains that the clients are her heroes. She echoes their persistence and adversity to never give up despite their circumstances and shows it in her work everyday. Her tireless devotion, caring and commitment to thousands of Santa Fe’s and Northern New Mexico’s homeless individuals cannot be replaced. To recognize her lifetime of serving others, we are creating a special fund in her name.
We are asking all those who know and love Maria (or those who support the work of St. E’s) to help send her off in style. Please join the staff, board, former interns, volunteers and donors in making a gift in her honor. Your contribution can be made by mail or by using the online link below (please write Maria Lopez in the memo line). Thank you!
P.S. Let’s keep this a secret until we surprise Maria. Details will follow when and where.
“Our guests are my heroes…their courage, their resiliency. They’ve overcome obstacles that most people can never imagine.” Maria Lopez.
Maria cutting cake in the early years!
Maria and Father Jim Wolff
Maria and Mayor David Coss
Maria, Sister Marci & David
The Men’s Emergency Shelter is a vital part and has become a staple of the St. Elizabeth Shelter Corporation thanks to the hard work and dedication of staff, like Maria. The Men’s Emergency Shelter is a central hub for the homeless community of Santa Fe, NM. The shelter provides single men a chance to undergo case management, have a hot meal for dinner, and enjoy the camaraderie built between guests and staff.
As part of the overall desire to help our homeless friends, the Emergency Men’s Shelter street outreach provides a large array of hygiene products from toothbrushes to conditioner which anyone in need may obtain. There is also a clothing donation closet with underwear, shoes, and socks, as well as hat bins that individuals, both male and female, may search through to find items they need to weather the seasons.
The shelter has two dormitory style rooms, which can accommodate a maximum of 28 individuals with ample space to move around. Aside from the sleeping space, the Emergency Men’s Shelter has a laundry room, a television room for movies and games, a small library, a communal dining room, and two computer work stations.
Over the years we have served thousands at this location through our emergency shelter, street outreach and various other programs. During the last 3 years our Men's Emergency Shelter has assisted over 800 men experiencing homelessness finding housing for an average over 45% of those individuals.