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Homeless man pays Catholic charity $250 to repay kindness

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
May 6th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

In Los Angeles, 77-year-old homeless man Ed Denst had relied on the Saint Vincent de Paul Council of Los Angeles for free lunches over the past 20 years. Denst figured it was time to repay the Catholic charity's kindness - and so wandered in the Our Mother of Good Counsel Church, and donated $250, all in one dollar bills.  

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "I was shocked," board president Claire Padama told television reporters. "I think that's more meaningful than those people who have a lot."

Padama has known Denst, an ex-Marine, for nearly 20 years. Denst goes to Our Mother of Good Counsel Church every day to receive a meal, something that is made possible by the Saint Vincent de Paul Society's daily sandwich program.

Padama says that the money will go toward helping those who need rental or utility assistance,

The Catholic charity provides a daily lunch program at Our Mother of Good Counsel Church is Los Angeles, which is where Denst met board president Claire Padama.

Denst says he has been homeless since his wife died 23 years ago. He says that he has been living on the streets since he sold the house and then spent all the money.
He said giving back "makes me feel very good.

"What I'm learning is that people are charitable and that should make me thankful," Denst said.

According to the United Way's statistics on the homeless population in Los Angeles in 2012, there are estimated to be over 50,000 homeless residents in Los Angeles. The United Way blames loss of employment and lack of affordable housing for the high numbers.

Over 9,000 homeless people in Los Angeles are Veterans and as many as 33 percent of the homeless population suffer from mental illness.

Ed Denst may be homeless, but he is not bitter. He learned about the generosity of others through his own experiences, and wants to do the same for other residents in need.

Although he states that he is not religious, Denst admits: "give us this day our daily bread . that is very meaningful to me. I think that is how I have every day."

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