Category Archives: ROP Outreach

Annual outreaches & special one-time events

Celebrating 2018 Highlights – One Final Appeal for Support (at least for this year :-)

As 2018 comes to a close, it seems only appropriate to take a little time to look back with thankfulness and forward with anticipation.

Here are just a few highlights from this past year for which we thank God:

  • The Launch of Restoration Counseling on East Colfax – It is has been encouraging and fun to play a small part in all that God has done to bring Deb Ford and RCEC to the point where they are today, able to provide much needed counseling services to those struggling to be free of various addictions.
  • The Growth of ROP’s Wednesday Lunch Outreach – Associate Executive Director, Tom Adams, and his awesome team of volunteers serve a Chick-fil-A lunch, clothing, hygiene items, prayer and a lot of love to 70+ homeless people every week, rain (snow) or shine.
  • Thanksgiving Dinner at Crawford Elementary – With the partnership of several churches, more than 100 volunteers and our Flourish East Colfax collaborators, ROP facilitated our first Thanksgiving Dinner at our community’s elementary school. The school and we are already looking forward to next year.
  • Whole Foods’ support of ROP’s Food Bank – The addition of Whole Foods as a regular provider of food has allowed our food bank to offer fruits, vegetables, dairy products and other perishable items for the first time in more than 10 years. Our community loves it.
  • Volunteers and Staff – I cannot consider things for which I am extremely thankful without thinking of ROP’s High Impact Volunteers and Staff. During 2018, more than 60 volunteers partnered with ROP on a regular basis (mostly weekly and many two or more times each week). And how I thank God for ROP’s awesome staff, many of whom have served with me since ROP’s beginning as an independent non-profit 11 years ago. These people are the heart of our ministry and I count it a great privilege to partner with each one of them.
  • Financial Partners – Of course, ROP’s financial partners are the other key ingredient that God uses to maintain and grow our ministry. As of today, ROP has received $516k in donations (to ministry and staff support) from more than 400 different donors during 2018, more money from more people than in any of ROP’s previous 10 years of existence. Thank you, Lord indeed!

As we look forward into 2019, here are just three areas in which we anticipate God moving and for which we covet your prayers:

  • Children’s Director – ROP has been without a Children’s Director for almost a year. While we have managed to keep both our Wednesdady evening Spark program and the Reading Mentoring program at Crawford Elementary going, we really need someone to help us reach out to and make an impact in the lives of more children in our community. This will become an even more critical need if we acquire the 1523 Boston Building with its awesome youth facilities (see next item).
  • 1523 Boston Building – As we have mentioned in previous communications, the building across the street (previously occupied by the Boys and Girls Club) is on the market and we are feeling led to try to buy it. The Anschutz Foundation has already committed $300k toward its purchase. Please pray that, if this is God’s will for ROP and our community, He would help us raise the additional funding needed to make this a reality.
  • Flourish East Colfax – After seeking and praying for a key person (aka “Community Connector”) to do some grass roots work for Flourish East Colfax, we now have two people – yay! Please pray they integrate well into the FEC team and the community development work ROP is doing with our FEC partners.

Well friends, that’s pretty much it for this eblast and this year. Just one last low-key and no-pressure appeal for financial support. (Hey, it’s part of my job :-). To all those who are already regular supporters and/or have made a year-end donation – thank you, thank you! However, if you have been considering a year-end gift to ROP and have not yet made one, we sure would appreciate your taking a moment to do so as God leads. Not withstanding, the fact that we have raised more money than in any previous year (as mentioned above), we have also spent more and at this point are still about $15k short of finishing the year with revenue greater than expense.

Thanks again for your partnership in ministry.  If you feel led to make a year-end donation, you can do so with your credit card by clicking on this link to ROP’s website, or you can mail a check to ROP, PO Box 632, Aurora, CO 80040. Checks must be postmarked by 12/31/18 to be deductible for 2018 taxes.

Merry Christmas from Restoration Outreach Programs

December is a busy but fun time at ROP.  There may be a little shopping involved, but it is mostly about sharing – sharing gifts, sharing fellowship and sharing the Christmas Story. In previous Eblasts I talked about how gifts were shared and families blessed at Colorado Community Church’s Christmas Store and at Crawford Elementary School. I also talked about how the Christmas Story was shared and good fellowship enjoyed and at the Work Readiness and English as a Second Language Christmas parties. 

This past week the sharing continued at ROP’s Wednesday Lunch Outreach and Spark program for kids. Wednesday Lunch volunteers prepared and distributed gift bags filled with socks, gloves, hygiene items and Christmas treats to about 60 of our homeless friends. As usual, a good lunch, fellowship and prayer were also shared. Sorry no photos :-(.

However, I do have a couple photos from ROP’s last Christmas event of the year. Wednesday evening was a special night for the kids of ROP’s Spark program. Parents were invited and the kids were able to share with their parents the gifts they had made for them. The kids also entertained their parents in song and dance, but the best thing, at least for me, was watching the kids actually share the Christmas Story BY MEMORY with their parents – amazing! Many thanks to Rick Randall, one of our awesome Spark volunteers, who has been teaching and working with the kids on memorizing the Christmas Story for several weeks. He and they did a great job. Now the kids can share the story of Jesus’ birth not only with their families, but with their friends as well. How cool is that?! It makes me smile just thinking about it and I hope it makes you smile too.

The Spark Christmas Party was pretty much our last Christmas event. On Thursday, Lucy’s TUMI class had their final exam and on Friday morning ROP’s Board discussed our 2019 Budget. Not very Christmassy, but good and important stuff nevertheless. But that was pretty much it for ROP’s ministry this year. Volunteers and staff are looking forward to spending the next week with family and friends, celebrating the most precious and important gift any of us will ever receive – the gift of joy, hope, peace and a transformed life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

May each of you also enjoy a blessed Christmas with your family and friends!

P.S. No pressure, but if you have room left in your year-end giving, we would welcome your consideration of a year-end gift to ROP. Not withstanding a great Colorado Gives Day, we still have a ways to go in order to finish 2018 in the black (revenue greater than expense) and start 2019 in the manner we hope. Clicking on this link will take you to ROP’s website where you can make a donation using your credit card. Or you can mail a check to ROP, PO Box 632, Aurora, CO 80040.

No Better Way to Learn the Christmas Story than Being a Part of It

Yesterday was a fun and very Christmassy feeling day at ROP.

It began with ROP’s Annual ESL Christmas Party. Like most Christmas parties, there was a lot of food, fun and fellowship, but the best part, at least in my opinion, was the sharing of the Christmas Story from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke in a very interactive way. Just about everyone played a part as we re-enacted the Christmas story together, including yours truly who played the role of a wise man (great type-casting) as well as photographer. I am not sure everyone understood the whole story, but they certainly had an enjoyable time and got some good practice with their reading skills as they played their part :-). To see more photos from the ESL Christmas Party, click on this link.

Later that same afternoon, Tom Adams and I got to play Santa Claus over at Crawford Elementary School. We are thankful to Cherry Hills Community Church for giving us this opportunity as a result of their decision to bless ROP and another city ministry with the leftover toys from CHCC’s Christmas Store this past Saturday.  Since ROP’s families already had the opportunity to participate in Colorado Community Church’s Christmas Store the previous Saturday, we were able to bless Crawford Elementary with hundreds of toys for their families. It gave us joy to see and hear about the joy of the school’s staff in anticipation of sharing this blessing with their families.

We are thankful for the opportunity to bless the families of our community in practical as well as spiritual ways. There is no better way to celebrate the most precious gift we will ever receive – the gift of a transformed life through submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ – than by sharing His love and blessings with others.

Many thanks to all who partner with us in this ministry in a variety of ways. We truly could not do it without you. No pressure, but if you have room left in your year-end giving, we would welcome your consideration of a year-end gift to ROP. Not withstanding a great Colorado Gives Day, we still have a ways to go in order to finish 2018 in the black (revenue greater than expense) and start 2019 with in the manner we hope. Clicking on this link will take you to ROP’s website where you can make a donation using your credit card. Or you can mail a check to ROP, PO Box 632, Aurora, CO 80040.

Thanks for you consideration and support.

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).


Turkey 290
Gravy 335
Stuffing 420
Yams 372
Corn 481
Green Beans
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.

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.