The Action Center is Lending A Hand

This nonprofit helps those in need in Jefferson County become self-sufficient


Courtesy iStock

For half a century, down-on-their-luck Jefferson County residents have come to The Action Center for food, shelter and a helping hand. But this Lakewood nonprofit isn’t about giving handouts and sending a person on his or her way; its goal is to get people on track to achieve or re-establish self-sufficiency. So, after making an appointment, clients are paired with a volunteer client advocate or staff case manager who will evaluate what’s at the root of their need and help them develop a plan to turn things around. One recent client, for example, arrived in Colorado with $30 in her pocket and nowhere to stay. After 13 nights spent sleeping on the streets, she found a room to rent. Her landlord suggested she visit The Action Center, where she selected fresh produce, meat and bread, along with towels, linens and cookware. Three visits later, she was secure enough to enroll in college and pursue a degree in social entrepreneurship.

Founded in 1968 as Jeffco Support Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to helping Jefferson County residents facing hunger, homelessness and financial instability, the organization changed its name to the Jeffco Action Center in 1975 and in 2011 became known simply as The Action Center. Mag Strittmatter, who became executive director in 2006, takes great pride in the fact that 93 cents from every dollar received goes to client services. Strittmatter left The Action Center on Jan. 18 to become president/ CEO of the Roadrunner Food Bank in Albuquerque; board president Ben Wiederholt is leading the search for her successor. 

How it works
The Action Center, with a $4.3 million budget and 50 staff members, distributes four tons of food daily to Jefferson County residents in need. It also operates a 22-bed homeless shelter and has referral arrangements with such agencies as Jefferson County Human Services, Jefferson Center for Mental Health and the Metro Community Provider Network. “Our clients must be ready and willing to take steps to improve the quality of their lives,” Strittmatter says. “We don’t want to just put a Band-Aid on issues.” All services are offered by appointment. Call 720.215.4850. 

How you can help 
Food donations are always welcome. Items most needed are cereal, cereal bars, peanut butter, canned chicken, beans, pasta and pasta sauces, canned fruit and canned corn. They can be dropped off at a drive-through dock on the east side of The Action Center building from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays. It is closed on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Upcoming events 
Beautiful Junk Sale: March 16–17 at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds. The $4 admission ($3 with the donation of two or more nonperishable items) opens the door to a sale that includes jewelry, collectibles, vintage odds and ends, household items and sporting goods. Early-bird shoppers pay $30 to arrive at 7 a.m. on March 16 for first crack at the merchandise. That ticket is good for admission on March 17, as well. Also on the 2018 calendar: Where Action Matters Breakfast, a luncheon and evening wine tasting, all benefiting The Action Center’s Betty Proctor Fund. Call 303.237.7704 for dates, locations and ticket info. 

8755 W. 14th Ave., Lakewood

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