This is one of a series of stories about the 15 nonprofit agencies that receive money from The Gazette/El Pomar Foundation Empty Stocking campaign that runs through the holidays.

Since he was young, John has always been a worker. When he came to a point in his life when his seasonal job ended earlier than expected and he couldn’t find another place to work, he didn’t know what to do.

“I looked to find anything,” he said. “I’ve been working since I was 12 years old. I’m the kind of person who always finds a job.”

But in October, he couldn’t. So he turned to ESM — Colorado Springs Ecumenical Social Ministries.

ESM is a nonprofit that helps with the emergency needs of low-income, homeless and jobless people in the community, according to its website.

John, whose real name is not being used to protect his privacy, went to ESM for help with his rent.

“They were really, really nice about it,” he said. “It made a really big difference for me.”

John is still looking for work, and he has been asking people if he can pick up their old wooden pallets and metal to sell for gas and food money. He said the money isn’t a lot, but it helps pay some bills.

“Things are still real tough,” he said. He did some snow shoveling in the recent snow storm from 2 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. He also was a Salvation Army bell ringer for a few days, which he said was really good because he likes helping people.

ESM was there for him when he really needed it, and he said he really appreciated it.

“It really helped a lot.”