Making people safe and secure in their neighborhoods is what we aim to do,” said Alyssa, one of the captains with Rebuilding Together, a nonprofit organization that recently teamed up with Lowe’s to refurbish the Adventist Community Services LIFT facility in Denver.
Together with Pete, also a captain, they used a less busy time (while lunch was served for more than 40 volunteers) to put down new flooring in one of the center’s rooms.
Alyssa has been engaged with Rebuilding Together for four years and, like many of her colleagues, has been refurbishing homes and facilities and serving communities throughout the country.
The two-day project involved 120 volunteers and included four homes of low-income homeowners, as well as the ACS center. Lowe’s donated $84,000 to the Denver rebuild project and much of the funding went to refurbish the ACS facility, giving them new showers, new flooring and remodeled classrooms. The project was launched in recognition of the critical services provided by ACS to the surrounding community, such as the food bank, medical care and developmental assistance.
“It’s all about the community. We’ve learned that you can’t just do one house here, one house there, but it’s all a concentrated effort. And it’s about partnerships, which is the fabric of community. This project is a demonstration of this,” said Graham McDonald, manager of corporate engagement at the national office of Rebuilding Together in Washington, D.C.
McDonald added that the Denver project included more than 1,000 hours of service. “We were able to overcome some of the difficulties with the flooring and carpeting with the strength of our volunteers,” he said.
Among the volunteers was Paul D. Lopez, councilman for the Barnum Neighborhood. The personal involvement of Deborah Jackson, ACS LIFT director, is an example of being with the community.
Opened in 1951, ACS has been in continuous operation, serving up to 350 people per week, according to Navanta Antoine-Griffith, administrative assistant and bookkeeper at the center. The center’s staff believes that the renovations will bring more clients.
“This place didn’t always look very nice,” said Jackson. “But now our clients will see this facility as beautiful, and they will see that they are valued. We will start our workforce development here, install computers and hold classes on healthy living, exercise and nutrition. And we hope to become a part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program), through which we can actually qualify people for food stamps.”
Jackson also wants the center to be seen as environmentally friendly. “Our garden is organic and our food is natural. We are trying to meet people at their needs.” The Lowe’s involvement with the project included creating edible landscaping in the front area of the center.
People who are homeless are also frequent visitors to the ACS center. “Now, we will be able to increase the help we give in finding jobs, writing resumes, helping to find housing—things we were not able to do before,” Jackson commented. “But we will need donations and will need to increase our promotion of the healthy lifestyle in the Denver metro community.”
Jackson desires that the church will see how valuable this service is. “We are hoping the church will not only help in volunteering, but also in the financial aspect of our work,” she appealed.
For ACS LIFT to continue providing much needed services, “we need support of church organizations, and individual church members, through gifts, donations, volunteering and prayer,” Jackson added.