Category Archives: ROP Outreach

Annual outreaches & special one-time events

How Would ROP Use the Additional Space? – Glad You Asked

A couple months ago, I announced in one of our “Urban Voices” newsletters that the building across the street from ROP (formerly the Boys and Girls Club) had gone up for sale and we were feeling led to try and buy it. Well, we still feel that way and remain pretty excited about what this could mean to ROP’s ministry and our community in terms of:

  • Youth Ministry – the 1523 Building provides wonderful space for kids to play including a full size gymnasium with 6 basketball hoops and an outdoor playground.
  • Existing programs – the 16,500 square feet of space includes several large classrooms which would provide expanded space for the growth of our ESL, Work Readiness and possible future programs.
  • Community Development – moving most of our existng programs across the street would allow us to use our existing building to better support our Community Development efforts for formal and informal neighborhood gatherings and activities.
  • Hospitality for the Homeless – We envision using the front of our existing building as a Hospitality Room for people from the neighborhood, and especially our homeless neighbors to gather or just hangout, especially when the weather is extremely hot or cold.

To help everyone better conceptualize the expanded “ROP campus” and how the space will be used, we got some help preparing some conceptual drawings, which I am including with this eblast. (These are kind of small, so if you would like 8.5 x 11 versions of any or all of these drawings, feel free to ask and I will send them to you.  To make that request, click Contact Us.)

I am also very excited to report that The Anschutz Foundation has already made a commitment of $300k toward the purchase of the building. This commitment is contingent upon raising the additional funding needed to make an acceptable offer (probably $1 million give or take) and providing the Foundation (and ourselves) sufficient assurance that we can also support the related increases in ROP’s operating budget.

Our hope and prayer is that this significant demonstration of support might help to encourage others to partner with ROP and The Anschutz Foundation in making this dream a reality. So please pray with us to that end if this acquisition is truly God’s will (as we believe it is) and feel free to forward this to anyone who might be interested in learning more about this extraordinary opportunity to make a major impact in the life of our community.

Many Thanks to All Who Participated in Colorado Gives Day 2018

It is with great thankfulness to God and all those who chose to participate that I report to you that Restoration Outreach Programs received 87 donations totaling $59,505 through this year’s Colorado Gives Day. This is 7 more donors but about $6k less than received last year (perhaps somewhat influenced by the change in tax laws). Still, we are humbled by this generous outpouring and tangible expression of support for what God is doing through ROP’s ministry and pledge to exercise careful stewardship over these and all the gifts entrusted to our care.

If you missed Colorado Gives Day, it is not too late to make a year-end donation to ROP and help us finish 2018 in the “Black” (revenue > expense). Right now it looks like it will take about another $30k of income to reach this goal. If you would like to help us reach this goal, please make your check payable to ROP and mail it to PO Box 632, Aurora, CO 80040

The Lord Who Hears Our Prayers

The following is a story of life change from ROP’s Associate Executive Director, Tom Adams.
We have been praying with and for Tonisha for nearly a year now.  She struggled with drug addiction and prostitution during that time, but has also demonstrated a genuine desire to walk in freedom.  At a recent Wednesday Lunch Outreach, Tonisha approached me and excitedly told me that she had delivered a healthy twelve pound baby boy.  Her relief and joy were great because she had been very worried for this baby since she was struggling with addiction throughout her pregnancy.  We had responded by asking the Lord to allow the baby not to experience any health challenges.  In his abounding mercy, God honored those prayers and also made a way for Tonisha to retain custody of her child.  She is living in a stable environment and has people around her who are supporting her as she raises her child. 
 
I rejoiced with Tonisha as she wept and thanked me for walking through this experience with her.  I felt tremendous love and the pleasure of God over her life and the life of her baby.  God is the restorer of all things, and I truly believe he has a beautiful plan for the lives of this daughter and her new son.  Please join me in continuing to lift them up in prayer so they will experience the freedom that all who put their hope and trust in the Lord have available. 
 
Tonisha seems to being doing well right now, but it’s important to note that she is still in the midst of struggling with addiction and other life challenges.  Continue to pray with us that she experiences freedom from these hindrances by seeking the help she needs and trusting Jesus in every area of her life.  We are thankful for the grace and mercy the Lord has extended to her and believe this kindness will lead to repentance and complete deliverance from the sin that entangles Tonisha’s life.  Together, we can make a difference in her life, the life of her child and potentially many lives of those struggling with similar issues.  Lord, lead us in praying for Tonisha and supporting her in the ways that foster redemption and restoration in the life of your precious daughter.
Shameless plug from the Executive Director:
As we approach year-end and you consider your year-end giving, I hope you will consider a generous donation to Restoration Outreach Programs. It is only through the financial partnership of people like you that we are able to come alongside people like Tonisha and prayefully seek to give them the love and help they need and invite God to transform their lives.
As you may already know, next Tuesday, 12/4, is Colorado Gives Day (CGD). We encourage our supporters to consider a CGD donation because it is supported by (1) a $25k matching challenge grant (just for ROP) and (2) the $1 million CGD Incentive Fund (shared by all CGD non-profits). If that works for you, just click on the “Donate Now” button below which will take you to ROP’s page on the CGD website. On that page you can enter the amount you wish to donate – AND, if it is before Tuesday, December 4th, be sure to check the CO Gives Day button, so that your donation is scheduled for Colorado Gives Day (12/4). If the whole CGD thing does not work for you or you are donating after December 4th, no problem, we are still very happy to receive checks payable to ROP and mailed to PO Box 632, Aurora, CO 80040 :-).
Thanks for your consideration and support.
P.S. This Wednesday (aka tomorrow), we will be mailing our year-end fund-raising letter. I hope you will read it even if you are not feeling led to make a year-end donation because I think it carries with it a God led message the hope ROP seeks to provide to all those we serve. We will be following up this letter with phone calls to many of our supporters this weekend. If you would like to help us lessen the number of calls we make (and not receive another voicemail message in your inbox), you can do that by scheduling your CGD donation before this upcoming weekend :-).

God’s Plans are Often Different (and Always Better) than Our Plans

It was the worst of days. It was the best of days. Forgive my abuse of a well-known Charles Dickens quote, but it quickly came to mind as I reflected on yesterday’s Thanksgiving dinner at Crawford Elementary School.

The “worst” part obviously relates to yesterday’s weather. I do not remember the last time we had freezing rain in Denver, but we had it pretty much all day yesterday – not exactly the kind of weather you want when most of the people invited to yesterday’s dinner do not drive. Still, about 175 of our neighbors braved the miserable weather and were rewarded with a delicious Thanksgiving feast courtesy of the many people who prepared our food and volunteers who served our guests at the school. (Click on this link to see all our photos from yesterday’s dinner.)

Needless to say, when you are trying to prepare food for almost 900 people and less than 200 show up, you are going to have a considerable amount of leftovers.  Of course, our awesome team of 100+ volunteers were invited to enjoy a meal with our guests when they were not serving, which was part of the original plan. Our guests were also invited to take food home and we had a couple small groups of about 30 people each that had made requests for leftovers, which we were happy to satisfy. But we still had a huge amount of leftovers looking for someone to bless.

This is where God’s plans took precedence over our plans, and it became an even better day. On cold weather days, when the temperature is expected to drop below 20 degrees, the homeless day shelter about 2 miles away opens for the night for more than 100 homeless men and women. So when I drove over to see if they would like to serve a Thanksgiving dinner to their guests for the evening, I was greeted with an enthusiastic, “absolutely!”. About 45 minutes later we delivered 4 car loads of Thanksgiving dinner to the shelter, and left wondering if this was God’s plan all along.

I confess I was initially pretty disappointed as I drove to the school in the freezing rain and contemplated how the weather would affect our turnout. Most of that faded away as the school’s cafeteria filled with the smiling faces of volunteers eager to serve and guests thankful for a delicious meal. But the real bonus came when we were able to bless more than 100 homeless people. This would not have happened if the weather had been great since we would have had a lot less food and the homeless shelter would not have been open.

We thank God that He had a better plan and for all the cooks and volunteers who partnered with us in making it a great day. And, yay! – The school has already invited us back to do it again next year :-).


Colorado Gives Day helps ROP hold events like yesterday’s Thanksgiving Dinner. Click on the “donate now” button to schedule a donation to ROP on the CGD website. Make sure to check “CO Gives Day” under “Donation Frequency”.

CGD Donations Can be Scheduled Any Day between Now and 12/4.

ROP’s Mission Statement is Meeting Needs, Building Relationships and Restoring Lives through Christ within the East Colfax Community. Stated slightly differently, our prayer at ROP is that as we seeks to meet the needs of those coming to our doors for help, we will also be able to build and strengthen relationships with those we serve and prayerfully seek opportunities the Holy Spirit provides to share the Love of Jesus in word as well as deed.  These Holy Spirit led opportunities (aka divine appointments) usually come when we least expect them. Such was the case this past Tuesday for Angie Long, ROP’s English as a Second Language Program Director. The following is what Angie shared with me about her divine appointment with one of her students.

I (Angie, at right with her students) went to teach my ESL class as usual recently, and was disappointed to find only one student was able to attend that day, as the 3 others had appointments or emergencies arise.  The one student who came was an older man and devout Hindu, who has been around ROP for a while.  I had prayed for an opportunity to have a conversation with him about his beliefs and what he knew about Jesus, and God answered this yesterday!  This student began asking me about my experience living in Indonesia among Muslims, which then led to more questions like, “what is the difference between Islam and Christianity?  Between Catholics and Protestants?”  His questions provided a wide open door for me to explain what the Bible teaches about God’s desire to forgive our sins and why Jesus’ death was necessary.  I asked many questions about his Hindu faith as well.  What started out as a disappointing day led to a gospel conversation that I pray will be a seed of truth planted in this man’s heart.

Opportunities like Angie’s earlier this week is why we are here. ROP’s staff and volunteers love to show the love of Christ to the people of our community by addressing their practical felt needs through our various programs, but it is our desire to address their spiritual needs that keeps us motivated and serving day in and day out.

Your financial support of ROP is what allows us pursue our mission – to meet needs, to build relationships and, ultimately, to see people’s live restored through a relationship with Jesus Christ. As year-end approaches and you consider those organizations you would like to support with a year-end gift, I hope you will include ROP in your considerations.

Colorado Gives Day has become a very significant part of ROP’s year-end fundraising efforts. Last year, we raised almost $67k and this year our hope and goal is to surpass that amount, Lord willing. Frankly, we need to reach that goal in order to have a realistic opportunity of finishing the year “in the black” (revenues > expenses) for the 10th consecutive year.

If you feel led to help us achieve that goal by making a year-end gift, I would encourage you to think about doing it through Colorado Gives Day (CGD). A CGD donation has two benefits to ROP: (1) is lower credit card fees (2% compared to normal feel of 3% or greater) and (2) the CGD $1 million Incentive Fund, through which ROP shares in the fund based on how much we receive in donations. In addition, this year’s Colorado Gives Day is being supported by a $15k matching grant!

This year, Colorado Gives Day is Tuesday, December 4th. But you do not need to wait until December 4th to make a donation. You can schedule your CGD donation any time between now and December 4th by simply clicking on the “Donate Now” button which will take you to ROP’s page on the CGD website.

Once on ROP’s page, click on the “donate” button in the upper right corner of the page. On the next page you can enter your donation amount, make a designation, and answer some optional questions. The important thing to schedule your donation for Colorado Gives Day, 12/4, is to make sure you check “CO Gives Day” under “Donation Frequency”. Then your credit card will be charged on December 4th.

Thanks for you consideration and support of Restoration Outreach Programs.

If you would like to be part of building relationships with people like Angie’s student, please contact Angie at [email protected].  We are especially looking for volunteers to help in our conversational English time on Wednesday evenings from 6:30-8pm.

Thanking God for the Great Outpouring of Food – Praying for more Volunteers between noon and 3 p.m.

Wow! We are so thankful for the great response to our appeals for more food for this Saturday’s Thanksgiving Dinner at Crawford Elementary School (1600 Florence St., Aurora 80010). While there is still room for more with many of our food items, we are getting very close to our 900 serving target with most of them. Thank you, Lord! Now we are praying for a God-ordained balance between the supply of food and the demand for food :-).

Interestingly, our biggest need at this point is for people to serve during the 12 to 3 p.m. time frame. Since this year’s format (serving dinner) does not require nearly as many volunteers as needed for our traditional food distribution, we initially asked volunteers to serve for just one hour in order to make room for more people to serve. We also gave volunteering priority to those who were willing to cook and deliver food. This has resulted in the first couple hours of volunteer needs from 10-12 being very well supported and the latter hours, from 12 to 3, not so well supported.

To address this need, we are making two adjustments:

  1. We are encouraging anyone who would like to participate in Saturday’s dinner (other than cooking and delivering food) to come on down in the noon to 3 p.m. time frame. There are plenty of roles where you can serve.
  2. We are also encouraging those who have already volunteered to serve for an hour to consider sticking around and serving a little longer, especially after 12 noon. Please note that you are invited to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal and make some new friends while waiting to fill a volunteer role.

If either of these two adjustments appeals or applies to you, please contact our dinner coordinator, Vicki Ekberg, at [email protected] or 303.898.0649.   We must respectfully ask that you let Vicki know you are coming. It already promises to be a fairly chaotic day, so please do us the courtesy of contacting Vicki in advance rather than just showing up.

A couple additional notes:

  • Parking is available in Crawford’s staff parking lot which is on the east side of the school and accessed off of 17th Avenue. Otherwise, there is lots of street parking around the school.
  • As mentioned above, you are encouraged to enjoy some turkey, dressing, pie, etc. before or after serving. We hope this might give you an opportunity to visit with others from our community, but we also want to encourage everyone to be sensitive as you do so. Some will be eager to visit and share about themselves. Others may not be so eager. Please prayerfully seek to follow the Holy Spirit’s agenda (not your own).

Looking forward to sharing a great day with many of you this Saturday.

P.S. Please pray for the weather and that any snow holds off until after 2 p.m. :-).

Still Praying for the Perfect Balance Between Food Provided and People Coming to Dinner

Thanks to all who responded to last Thursday’s eblast.  Commitments have been received to provide hundreds more servings of needed items. However, as you can see from the updated list below, we still need quite a bit more food in order to reach our target of 900 servings of each item. Please pray with us that God would provide the perfect balance between the amount of food provided and the number of people who come to enjoy a Thanksgiving Dinner this Saturday, 11/17 (11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at nearby Crawford Elementary School).

 

MENU ITEM SERVINGS NEEDED
TO REACH 900
Turkey 290
Gravy 335
Mashed
Potatoes
525
Stuffing 420
Yams 372
Corn 481
Green Beans
(plain)
231
Cranberries 275
Fruit Salad 550
Pies 70

We are asking that our cooks bring their item/s heated and ready to serve in disposable aluminum serving pans sufficient to serve 25 people. (more is okay :-). And if cost is an issue for anyone, we are more than happy to reimburse you. You just need to save and give us your receipts.

According to Vicki Ekberg (our Dinner Coordinator), we also have openings for those who would like to volunteer to serve at the dinner, especially during the later hours (see below). So if you are looking for an opportunity to express your thankfulness in a practical way by cooking and/or volunteering at the dinner, I encourage you to contact Vicki at [email protected] or 303.898.0649. She will be happy to answer your questions.

VOLUNTEER
1 HOUR OF
SERVICE
#OF
VOLUNTEERS
NEEDED
10 AM 8 (prep time)
11 AM 5
12 PM 31
1 PM 35
2 PM 15 (clean up)

Finally, I just want to give you a quick heads up that Colorado Gives Day 2018 is just three weeks from tomorrow on Tuesday, December 4th. Colorado Gives Day has become a very important part of ROP’s annual fundraising efforts, which are important in terms of being able to do special events like this Saturday’s Thanksgiving Dinner and all the programs we offer to the needy people of our community on a daily and weekly basis.  Stay tuned for more information on this year’s Colorado Gives Day and how you can schedule your CGD donation prior to 12/4.

Attention Amazon Shoppers – 5% of Amazon Smile Purchases Goes to ROP thru 11/2

Once a year, I remind friends of ROP that making purchases using Amazon Smile allows 0.5% of the purchase price to go to the benefit of ROP (or the non-profit of your choice).  I am reminding you now because for the next 5 days though 11/2, Amazon is increasing the benefit 10 times to 5.0%.
So, no pressure, but if you were thinking about making a purchase on Amazon anyway, now would be a great time to do that using Amazon Smile. Clicking on this link – smile.amazon.com/ch/80-0001215 – should take you to the Amazon Smile page where you can do this, assuming you are already registered with Amazon Smile. If you are not registered, it is easy to do so. Just go to smile.amazon.com and select Restoration Outreach Programs as your non-profit. All subsequent purchases will provide benefit to ROP – usually 0.5%, but 5.0% for the next few days.
Sounds like a win-win to me :-).
Don’t forget to contact Vicki Ekberg at 303.898.0649 or [email protected] if you are interested in volunteering to serve a Thanksgiving Dinner to our community at Crawford Elementary School on Saturday, 11/17. We especially need cooks to prepare and bring an item to the school that morning.

And One Very Special “Every Day Hero”

It was a fun and special morning at Restoration Outreach Programs’ Food Bank. Nobody serving at our Food Bank does it for the recognition. On the contrary, I think most of our Food Bank team serve out of gratitude to God for His many blessings and a desire to share those blessings by serving others. Indeed, most of our Food Bank volunteers are members of our community who originally came as food recipients and later asked if they could give back and say ‘thank you’ by joining our awesome volunteer team. It truly is a special group of people who serve a lot more than food to the hundred or so families that come to the Food Bank each week.

Today was special because one member of our Food Bank family received some well deserved recognition. Francis Balbin has been serving with ROP’s Food Bank two days a week for more than 5 years. She is a key member of the Food Bank team who always works hard and almost single-handedly has kept ROP’s food pantry well organized (not an easy job). Unfortunately, Francis will soon be leaving her ROP family to go minister to aging family members in Missouri.

So it was especially sweet when Mitch Jelniker and team from Channel 7 News showed up at ROP this morning and presented Francis with a “7 Every Day Hero” award. If you would like to see Francis receive her award on TV and hear a little bit from Food Bank Director, Tish Freeman, and yours truly, you will have 4 opportunities to do so at the following times:

  • Sunday, 11/4, at 10 p.m.
  • Monday, 11/5, at 11 a.m.
  • Saturday, 11/10, at 10 p.m.
  • Sunday, 11/11, at 7 a.m.

I thank God for Francis and all of ROP’s regular (we call them “High Impact”) volunteers. They are all heroes in my book.

Well done, Francis! You will be greatly missed by your ROP family.

By the way, remember to contact Vicki Ekberg at 303.898.0649 or [email protected] if you are interested in volunteering to serve a Thanksgiving Dinner to our community at Crawford Elementary School on Saturday, 11/17. We especially need cooks to prepare and bring an item to the school that morning.

A Little Shopping, a Little Cooking and a Big Chance to Bless Others

Looking for a volunteer opportunity for Thanksgiving?  Here’s a great one!  A little shopping, a little cooking, and a chance to bless someone with food and fellowship as part of your Thanksgiving celebration.

This year, instead of our traditional food distribution, ROP is sponsoring a sit-down dinner for our community, including all of the families of our host, Crawford Elementary School, located just a few blocks from ROP. The basic plan is to serve dinner to about 300 families from 11 am to 2 pm on Saturday, November 17th, in Crawford’s cafeteria.

Our biggest need at this point is people to cook food and bring it to Crawford Elementary that Saturday morning. In order to make sure we have the right mix of Thanksgiving favorites to serve our neighbors, we are asking our cooks to select an item or items ahead of time.  We will be more than happy to reimburse you for the cost of the food you prepare. You just need to keep and submit your receipts.

The blessing of this change in format is that it is much more relational and supports ROP’s community development efforts. The downside is that it does not require quite as many volunteers as in past years. Therefore, those who volunteer to cook and deliver food to the school will also have priority in terms of filling volunteer positions at the dinner. Having said that, please let us know if you would like to volunteer but are not able to cook, and we will do our best to accommodate you. Please, please do not just decide to show up at the last minute. In order to make the dinner work well for everyone, including you, we need to know you are coming. Thank you in advance for that courtesy.

Anyone interested in participating in the dinner – whether as a cook, a non-cook volunteer or a donor – should email me, Vicki Ekberg (event volunteer coordinator) at [email protected], and either I or Tish Freeman (event food coordinator) will get back to you promptly with more specific instructions and answers to your questions.

ROP is committed to meeting needs, building relationships, and restoring lives through Christ within our East Colfax community, and we couldn’t do that without you, our friends and family in Christ, doing God’s work, serving Him by helping those He seeks to save.