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Seniors who might otherwise be alone this holiday season will receive a gift and a visitor thanks to Volunteers of America’s Basket of Joy project. Over 1,500 volunteers will come together Saturday, December 12, to assemble and deliver 5,280 holiday fruit baskets to seniors throughout the Denver metro area.
“We want to bring joy to seniors in our community for the holidays,” said Bradley Gulley, Director of Volunteer Programs for Volunteers of America. “The thoughtfully crafted baskets mean so much to the recipients and having a volunteer come to their home to drop off the gift and wish them a happy holiday is truly priceless to someone who might not see any other visitors this time of year.”
The Basket of Joy program began in 1988 after a corrupt financial planner defrauded two elderly sisters of their entire life savings. Woody Paige, of the Denver Post, learned of this story and requested Christmas Cards from his readers to be sent to the sisters at their nursing home. With a partnership from Albertsons and Volunteers of America, this act of kindness grew from cards for two sisters to beautiful fruit baskets at the holiday times delivered to over 5,000 seniors in the Denver-metro area. Recipients include many homebound and low income seniors as well as senior recipients nominated by the community.
Basket of Joy could not happen without the support of Albertsons, The Denver Mattress Company, The Denver Post, InnovAge, Anadarko and all of the volunteers who assemble and deliver the baskets.
This program is so important because many seniors will be alone for the holidays and will not receive any presents or visits from their families, Gulley said.
“The holidays can be an especially lonely time for seniors and this fruit basket delivered by cheerful volunteers can truly brighten up their season.” Gulley said.
For more information about this and other holiday projects, visit http://www.voacolorado.org.
This is not the first year that Volunteers of America and Safeway have worked together to bring free flu shots to people in need but this was the first year the Flu Shot Clinic was at Sunset Park Senior Center.
Tuesday, September 20, Safeway administered dozens of flu shots completely free of charge to anyone in need. Many people living in adjacent senior living residences came to get their flu shots as well as families who heard about the shots on the news and others who just stumbled upon the pop up clinic.
One gentleman who happened upon the flu clinic on Tuesday certainly did not expect that he would be receiving a flu shot. He came into the Sunset Park Senior Center for the first time because he said he heard he could get lunch there. When asked if he wanted a flu shot, he said he was homeless and did not have any money for a shot. Thanks to the free vaccines donated by Safeway pharmacies, the gentleman was able to get his flu as well as enjoy a lunch.
He was just one of the countless others who may never have received their flu shot if it were not for the free clinic! Thank you Safeway!
Forty-one elementary school students started the year off with a trip to the baseball field. The students from Sedalia Elementary’s fifth and sixth grade classes got VIP treatment at Coors Field as a part of the Major League Baseball Players Trust, the Colorado Rockies, and Volunteers of America’s annual Buses for Baseball event.
The 11 and 12-year-olds oohed-and-ahhed as they entered the empty Coors Field last Wednesday afternoon, August 19. They sat first row during batting practice and thanked all the players that came by to see them. Players stopped by to sign autographs and take pictures with the students, including Carols Gonzalez, Brandon Barnes, Charlie Blackmon, Jon Gray, Nick Hundley, DJ LeMahieu, Boone Logan, Justin Morneau, Scott Oberg, Ben Paulsen and Chris Rusin.
I have to say, It is so rewarding to see these kids, some of whom have never been to any professional sporting event in their life, be so excited to be at a game and so appreciative. From every one at Volunteers of America, we are so grateful to all the players who took time to hang out with the kids. This is an experience they will truly never forget.
Before the game began, the students got nachos, hot dogs, cotton candy and more with the food vouchers provided by Buses for Baseball. After they got their snacks, they headed up to their seat for the game. From the pregame events to the last inning, they cheered for the Rockies with excitement. Every child also went home with a Buses for Baseball t-shirt to remember the day by.
Buses for Baseball is a program of the Major League Players Trust that aims to give disadvantaged youth memorable experiences at Major League baseball games. An annual event in Denver for Major League Baseball Players Trust, the Colorado Rockies, and Volunteers of America, Sedalia Elementary participated this year for the first time.
Denver was the last of 15 different Buses for Baseball events in cities across the country, reaching a total of 750 young people. This year students in Arizona, Baltimore, Boston, Colorado, Detroit, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Minnesota, New York, Oakland, San Francisco, Saint Louis, Toronto, and Texas got the chance to attend Major League games thanks to Buses for Baseball.
Nearly 100 fans gathered Wednesday night, August 5, to eat dinner with retired Colorado Rockies Player, Todd Helton. The Players Party dinner was an event to kick off for the Legend’s Golf Tournament benefiting Volunteers of America, a decades-long tradition in Denver.
Joined by his wife Christy, Helton spent time signing baseballs, taking photos, and meeting guests. After the steak dinner served at the Denver ChopHouse & Brewery, Emcee Murphy Huston, of KOSI 101, hosted a live auction. The auction included items signed by Helton, vacations, and other items, raising thousands of dollars for Volunteers of America Colorado.
The evening culminated in an intimate question and answer time with Helton who reflected on his career, experiences, and unique moments during his time in Major League Baseball.
Helton along with tournament players teed off the next morning, Thursday, August 5, at Sanctuary Golf Course.
The Players Party dinner was made possible thanks to sponsors, including CoBiz Insurance, Emcee Murphy Huston, and KOSI 101.
Volunteers of America is a nationwide nonprofit that serves Colorado through over 50 distinct human service programs and reaches out to the most vulnerable populations, including homeless, frail and elderly, children, and veterans. Last year, Volunteers of America helped 160,560 people and utilized over 16,000 volunteers in Colorado.
If you want to give a room a face lift, call the Major League Soccer staff; they do an outstanding job! During the recent Major League Soccer (MLS) All-Star Game, staff from MLS and their partners at Kroenke Sports and Wells Fargo came to renovation four rooms at Volunteers of America’s motel for homeless families.
With new families coming in every week, the rooms were in need of a fresh coat of paint. MLS, Kroenke Sports, and Wells Fargo made it possible for the rooms to also be updated with new décor.
All a part of the All Star Day of Service, the volunteers showed up bright and early to paint. They quickly got to painting and having a little fun too. It felt like no time at all before the first room was completely painted, the second and third quickly followed. Because of their hard work, in what felt like a blink of an eye, all the rooms were finish!
Volunteers sorted out the decorations that would go in each room and unpacked the new goodies. Now it was time to fill the rooms with new blankets, towels, encouraging wall signs, sheets and more.
For a family who is coming in off of the streets or, maybe, just lost their home for the first time, moving into any shelter can be scary and unsettling. Having a clean, nicely decorated, and welcoming place can go a long way in comforting a family in a time of crisis. Thanks to work of the MLS All Star Day of Service volunteers, homeless families staying at the Volunteers of America’s Family Motel have a truly beautiful and uplifting place to stay!
Last week Volunteers of America Colorado heard exciting news; we received a $40,000 grant through Denver Post Charities, a McCormick Foundation Fund, with funds raised from the Season to Share campaign. Other nonprofits heard the same exciting news. A total of $2,350,000 was distributed to 53 nonprofit organizations across the Denver metropolitan region through Denver Post Charities.
Two representatives from our staff, Jordan Kellerman, Director of Public Relations and Marketing, and Mary Farr, Grants Manager, had the honor of accepting the $40,000 check in a ceremony last week.
This grant will support Volunteers of America’s homeless youth and young mothers transitional housing programs. This incredible program serves homeless individuals between the age of 16 and 24 and helps them secure permanent housing.
Participants in the programs receive case management services to help support them in their employment, education, independent living, parenting skills and more. Youth also receive services from the Bannock Youth Center; where they can go for mentoring, meals, life skills classes, and job searching. The goal of the program is to help young people become self-sufficient.
Volunteers of America is incredibly grateful to the Denver Post Charities, a McCormick Foundation Fund, for this generous grant to help our community’s homeless youth. Furthermore, we would like to thank everyone who supported the Season to Share campaign; your sharing made a difference!
Interested in learning more about the homeless youth and young mothers transitional housing programs? There are many opportunities throughout the year to volunteer and provide resources for these Volunteers of America programs. Visit the our webpage to find out more: http://www.voacolorado.org/gethelp-denvermetro-ryes-youth