With more than 20 agencies and organizations coming together to offer a resource fair to county residents, the Douglas County Community of Care Network held the first Strive to Thrive event of the year.
The bi-annual Strive to Thrive event was held at Calvary Castle Rock. Nonprofit organizations and Douglas County agencies provided resources and services such as housing information and assistance, clothing, household supplies, medical care and a free meal.
In addition to clothes provided by Clover’s Closet and SECORCares food pantry, this year’s event included numerous raffle prizes, which included King Soopers and Sprouts gift cards.
An organization that has participated in multiple Strive to Thrive events, Manna Resource Center was back to offer holistic programs and community connection.
Manna Resource Center is a faith-based nonprofit organization under which Manna Connect operates. According to coach Lindsey Scherrer, Manna Connect provides individual coaching, career development, assists in the search of jobs and education and also serves as poverty alleviation for the area.
“I think just being able to connect with community members face to face, getting to share what we do and getting to hear what they are looking for, it’s a really unique way to meet folks within our community,” said Scherrer.
Among the vendors was the state’s largest nonprofit health care providers, Kaiser Permanente.
“I think it’s a good give back event,” said Kaiser Permanente representative Dan Wegner. “I like this event because it’s people that are needing the stuff that these other vendors are bringing here.”
Karen Humble with Backpack Society found out about the strive event through the Community of Care Network.
This was the second year the nonprofit has participated in the event. With a goal to remove food insecurity, Backpack Society provides food to students on weekends and on long school breaks when students might go without food.
Backpack Society partners with schools in the Douglas County School District, the Littleton School District and the Cherry Creek School District. According to Humble, the society would like to work more closely with the school resource officers of the schools to learn what the needs of the students are.
Participating at Strive to Thrive for the first time was Life Connect, which is an initiative of Grace Chapel.
Life Connect is a six to 12 month program for people that are wanting to become more self-sustainable. In addition to meeting with a life coach, they provide a community dinner once a month to build community relationships.
According to life coach coordinator, Michelle Moss, as SNAP benefits decrease, Life Connect will provide household and hygiene supplies through a Resource Pantry starting Feb. 5.
“I love connecting with all the other resources because we get a lot of variety of people that come to us, so I can now resource them to their specific needs,” said Moss, “So there's lots of collaboration in this group, which is really beautiful.”