Local family’s fundraiser fighting two effects of COVID-19

Family of five has raised more than $8,000 for locals facing food, job insecurity

Casey Van Divier
cvandivier@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 5/6/20

An Arvada couple and their fifth-, eighth- and eleventh-grade daughters have already raised thousands after starting a fundraiser for local families April 22. The Fitzgerald family has created a …

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Local family’s fundraiser fighting two effects of COVID-19

Family of five has raised more than $8,000 for locals facing food, job insecurity

Posted

An Arvada couple and their fifth-, eighth- and eleventh-grade daughters have already raised thousands after starting a fundraiser for local families April 22.

The Fitzgerald family has created a GoFundMe to raise $20,000 to provide families with restaurant-quality meals from Arvada restaurant Lot One, 13730 W. 85th Dr., every Monday night. The plan is to include a different main dish and vegetable side or salad each week, with some of the greens to come from the greenhouse on Lot One’s rooftop, said Josh Timon, one of the restaurant’s owners.

As of May 4, the fundraiser had received about $8,750, enough to provide about 200 meals weekly for four weeks, Mark Fitzgerald said.

The effort aims to distribute about 200 meals each Monday for 10 weeks, with the first donation of 235 meals sent out May 4.

“My wife and I really saw there was such an impact with unemployment and food insecurity, and there was also a component just as a family of that hopeless feeling,” Mark said. “In times of need, you can sit and feel the pain or you can figure out how you can make a difference. We asked, `what can we do?’”

Each family member has taken on their own role, said Mark’s daughter Reagan, an eighth-grader at Excel Academy. Her younger sister and mom have been making flyers, her older sister has figured out how to get the food to the families that need them, and she and her dad have focused on the fundraising effort.

“It’s a bonding experience,” Reagan said. “We’ve learned how to work together in ways we didn’t know how to before.”

By partnering with local schools in the Jefferson County school district as well as local churches, the Fitzgeralds have organized for families in need to receive the meals. Families can also reach out for help by contacting dinnerforallarvada@gmail.com.

Meanwhile, individuals can donate to the campaign by visiting the Dinner for All Arvada page on GoFundMe.

“When you see the names of people you don’t know (donating), that’s really impactful,” Mark said. “To know people are willing to give in a time of uncertainty says a lot about Arvada and the people who live here.”

In addition to assisting families, the Fitzgeralds hope their efforts will help Lot One by creating an extra shift for employees to work to prepare the meals.

Prior to the fundraiser, because the effects of COVID-19 have temporarily reduced the store’s hours, employees were not working Mondays, Timon said.

“This partnership is very important for a number of different reasons,” he said. “I’m able to bring back more staff members and give them more hours. I’m able to give them another day of work. And second, this is helping to feed local Jeffco families.”

While acknowledging their goal of raising $20,000 will require plenty of work, the family is hopeful they’ll be able to achieve the goal with the help of Arvada residents, businesses and organizations.

And in the meantime, the hard work has brought about an important life experience for Reagan and her sisters that not everyone experiences as a child or teenager, she said.

“I feel like if I continue to go down this path, I can continue to do more,” she said. “It required some work, but I feel like it’s definitely worth it.”

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