Celebrating 50 years of the Action Center

The resource service assists over 20,000 residents each year

Posted 8/14/19

There’s a story John Covert, director of development for the Action Center, likes to tell when he’s giving tours of the resource center about Larry, a US veteran. Larry did two tours of duty, and …

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Celebrating 50 years of the Action Center

The resource service assists over 20,000 residents each year

Posted

There’s a story John Covert, director of development for the Action Center, likes to tell when he’s giving tours of the resource center about Larry, a US veteran. Larry did two tours of duty, and when he returned home from service, he found his wife had turned to alcohol.

The veteran has two kids, and his household relied only on his income, making buying basic needs like food a challenge. But thanks to the Action Center, he was able to use its self-service grocery store, clothing bank and get connected to outside counseling services.

“I can’t imagine serving your country and coming back to find your family in disarray. His wife had to go into a rehab program,” said Covert. “I hope I never see Larry again. That’s what we’re after here at the Action Center. We want people to find self-sufficiency.”

Over 20,000 people each year seek help from the Action Center, and this year the human-services nonprofit is celebrating its 50th anniversary. From being based in churches to getting its own property in Lakewood in the 1990s, the Action Center supports nearly 80 households per day.

The Action Center provides food, clothing, rental and utility assistance and its Self-Sufficiency Pathways Program, a case management program that assists residents who are in difficult situations, like poverty. It recently hosted a school supply drive for families ahead of the upcoming 2019-2020 school year, and it has provided struggling families with gifts for children during the holiday season for decades.

Last year, the Action Center announced the closure of its 22-bed homeless shelter due to financial difficulties, but Pam Brier, the center’s executive director, said there’s a chance it can reopen in the next few months.

“(The Action Center) means a lot to people. They know they have a place to come to get help when they need it,” said Edgewater resident Lupe Gonzalez, a father of two children. Gonzalez will get food from the Action Center when bills start to pile up and groceries become difficult to afford.

To celebrate its 50th anniversary, the Action Center will host a block party on Sept. 14 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 8755 W. 14 Ave. The free event will feature live music, children activities and food trucks.

“We wish that we didn’t have to be here for 50 years and that we could put ourselves out of business. We just want to show the community that we’re here, continuing to be a partner and a good neighbor,” said Brier.

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