History: The Lakewood Faith Coalition was established in 2014 by then Mayor Bob Murphy to bring together faith groups, businesses and others to work together to ensure that all residents in Lakewood can thrive. The work of the Lakewood Faith Coalition (LFC) continues today under Mayor Adam Paul.
In 2017, the LFC became enthusiastic with the thought of helping Title I Schools in the area. Some success had already been seen with a couple of schools having a space in their building or in a “temporary” building located on their campus where a community resource center had been established. Others were able to help families with immediate food needs using just a small cabinet or closet. Partnerships were then formed with faith groups, service groups, and individual schools. The idea of a community resource center (sometimes called a “hub”) gained steam and the LFC put together a plan. The plan included food, clothing, and service resources for families.
Then came 2020, and COVID-19. Schools were closed, almost everyone was scrambling to work out of their homes. Contact was limited. Two weeks turned into many months. When schools reopened, no visitors were allowed in the schools, and the LFC wondered what could be done. People wanted to help. We all wanted to do SOMETHING.
In April of 2021, a $30,000 grant was received from the City of Lakewood for three Title I Schools in Jeffco Public Schools—Molholm Elementary, Lasley Elementary, and Emory Elementary. Each school was given $10,000 specifically for the development of their resource centers. $5,000 was used immediately for grocery gift cards for Families in need. $5,000 was spent on infrastructure for the physical locations.
In August, 2021, Dave Weiss (Community Superintendent in the Alameda and Jefferson articulation areas) facilitated a meeting including the LFC, principals from the three Title I schools, and Jane Barnes (Benefits in Action/Council to End Hunger in Lakewood), as well as the principal from Foothills Elementary. Foothills is one of the schools with a functioning resource center. The LFC offered to set up a “Wish List” system wherein the principals could ask for whatever they need, and the LFC could fulfill the requests when possible. Worst case scenario, the answer would be, “We’re sorry we can’t do it.” Best case scenario, the answer would be, “Wish granted.”
HERE’S WHAT HAPPENED!
Two schools wished for refrigerators–Lasley Elementary, and Emory Elementary.
A gently used and clean refrigerator was located and delivered to Lasley Elem. Another donor is arranging to fulfill the refrigerator wish at Emory Elem.
Molholm Elem. principal’s first wish was to upgrade the staff lounge. The furniture which was in place was old, rickety, and sized for fourth grade students.
A gently used “adult-sized” set of furniture including two round tables and 16 chairs were donated and moved into Molholm.
The Lasley Elem. principal wished for some trim painting in school hallways. Over time, various colors had been used. Volunteers came and painted them “blue”, to match the front entry doors.
All three school principals and their Family Engagement Liaisons (FEL) wished for a basic inventory of non-food commodities to stock the shelves of their resource centers, including:
- laundry detergent
- body wash
- baby wipes
- baby food
- hand soap
- dishwashing liquid
Four faith groups joined with Jane Barnes (Benefits in Action www.benefitsinaction.org/Council to End Hunger in Lakewood) to fulfill this wish—Green Mountain Presbyterian Church, Phillips United Methodist Church, Mile Hi Church, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the National Day of Service on September 11th. We received everything we asked for and more!
Each school was given an estimated initial supply sufficient for approximately 24 families/individuals. As it is difficult to know exactly what the demand will be in each resource center, the FEL for each school was asked to update the LFC as supplies are depleted and as they determine different products which might be added to this wish list area.
This is what one delivery looked like before it was loaded onto vehicles for delivery.
WISH LIST UPDATE
- Emory Elementary is still looking for some area rugs for their resource center. 8’ x 10’, circular, or other sizes would be welcomed. Indoor/outdoor would probably work best, and a gift card to Re-Store might even be better!
- Molholm Elementary is hoping for more shelving for their resource center. Metal shelving units on wheels work best for their needs.
- Molholm Elementary has an upcoming Halloween event and is seeking Halloween costumes in children’s sizes.
- Molholm Elementary wishes they had additional clothing racks, plastic storage boxes, and hangers for their clothing inventory.
Stocking the commodities items going forward: We have set up an Amazon “Custom Gift Registry” so that donors can purchase with ease and confidence. It can be accessed on the Amazon website by clicking on Registry, then typing Lakewood Faith Coalition in the blank for Registrant Name, then choosing Custom Gift List from the drop-down menu under registry type, and then click search. Alternately, here is a link.
This registry can be edited as needed. Some items have been removed as we still have a “banked” inventory of commodities for replenishing school resource centers.
Last but NOT least, a wish from the Lakewood Faith Coalition Steering Committee: SCHOOL STAFF APPRECIATION for all of our Title I Schools. These incredible humans ask nothing for themselves but only for the students and families they serve. Baked goods, pizza lunches/dinners, gift cards, snacks during conferences….enough said!!!
This is the wish and the prayer…that working together, Lakewood residents can thrive and together, we can!
Blog written by…and for more info on this please contact: Marian Richards, Lakewood Faith Coalition