Why A Diaper Drive?

Throughout the month of May, the Public Affairs Committee and the Just Serve Committee are organizing a diaper drive in conjunction with St. Andrew’s Methodist Church. Why? Because this is a wonderful opportunity to partner with another church in our community to do much good.

The diapers will go to Rocky Mountain Diaper Depot, and will be distributed to these organizations:
Family Promise
Mary’s Maternity of Motherhood Home
The Father Ed Judy House
Warren Village
Denver Inner City Parish
Street Reach
The Gathering Place
Throughout our community, diapers are desperately needed. Food stamps do not cover diapers. Families in need often receive 13 diapers every 14 days- when you do the math, it isn’t pretty for these children.
Here are some stories that relate the need in our community:
– One of our stake members worked with a homeless family. The mom had a little baby. She could not afford diapers (Food Stamps do not cover paper products) She was left to her own resources. She made make shift diapers for her baby. She used a king Soopers plastic bag, cut out little holes for his feet, and used the paper towels you dry your hands on, as liners. This was the babies diapers. It was the best she could do.
 
-I met a young woman at the Gathering Place who had come in with two boys, ages 11 and 13, along with a 1-year-old she held in her arms. At first glance, I thought she might be their older sister who also happened to be a new mom. She explained that her baby’s father was also the father of the two boys with different mothers, but he would disappear for days and was completely unreliable. He’d been gone now for 3 days and she didn’t know when he might return. Without him available to help, she had to take time off from her job to care for the baby – and had no choice but to care for the older boys as well. She was tired, frustrated and feeling overwhelmed. She said she had food stamps, so the first things she asked for were clean clothes and diapers for the baby , and someone to watch the boys so she could rest. Fortunately the RMDD had delivered 800 diapers to the Gathering Place that morning, so she was able to get diapers and clothing so her little baby could be clean and dry. There was also childcare available for the boys (and I’m not sure why they weren’t in school).

-David and Tonya came to Denver 9 years ago and were homeless, living in a shelter. I met them today, standing outside the Stout Street Clinic as we all waited for the doors to open at noon. In Tonya’s arms was Marucio, their little baby boy just 3 months old. They told me how hard they had worked to get out of the shelters and create a life for themselves, even moving into a subsidized apartment as they started their family, but the recent expenses of a newborn and Tonya losing her job had forced them out of their apartment and back to the streets. There simply wasn’t enough money from David’s work to have any kind of normal life. Little Marucio was getting newborn checkups at the Clinic, and with each visit they would get RMDD packages of 15 diapers. Diapers, according to Tonya, were harder to find than almost anything else their little baby needed. She was even drying his wet disposable diapers over a heating vent so she could reuse them. “They are so expensive to buy, and we don’t have the money to get enough for him. When I get those diapers from the Clinic, I just say Thank You Thank You Thank You, because I know he’ll be clean and he will sleep tonight.” A simple little diaper will help their baby stay dry and clean tonight. Tonya’s gratitude to those who donated the diapers cannot be measured…only imagined. 

-Ernesto and Julia came into DenUM pushing a stroller. Emma, their five-month old baby girl, was sleeping peacefully inside, bundled up against the cold. Like a lot of the people we serve, the young parents were embarrassed at having to ask for help. At first, they looked at the floor and their words were barely audible. But when I asked about their housing situation, Ernesto looked me straight in the eye, and I’ve never heard a clearer or more resolute voice. “I’ve been homeless before,” he said. “I can be on the street. I can go without food. But not my wife and daughter. Not Emma. We’re going to do this right, and I’ll do whatever it takes.” As I handed Ernesto and Julia diapers and baby formula and led them into the pantry for food, I thought about the kind of courage and love that brought them to us, and the new start they’re trying to make.”

Refugee Training Opportunity

The stake RS Presidency recently sent out an e-mail with some organizations they are working with to learn more about how to help refugees, as well as the opportunity to be trained to help refugees:

Dear Sisters,

This email is in response to the “I was a Stranger” directive that was given during General Conference by Sister Linda K. Burton and Elder Patrick Kearon.  The General Presidents of the Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary have asked that the attached letter be distributed in Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary meetings.

There are several organizations in the Denver metro area that, for many years, have provided relocation assistance to refugees.  Members of the Highlands Ranch Stake Relief Society Presidency attended orientation meetings for the following organizations. We have gathered much information that we will share with you upon request.

On Thursday, June 16, 6:30-8:30 in the Stake Center, the Volunteer Coordinator for Lutheran Family Services, David Cornish, will give a presentation on refugees in the Denver metro area and ways you can help.  All are invited to attend.  The Saddle Ranch Ward Relief Society is hosting this event.

Click here for answers to frequently asked questions.

We encourage you to prayerfully study the information on the “I Was a Stranger” website, determine what you can do given your personal circumstances, then move forward in serving people in our area.

Sincerely,

Highlands Ranch Stake Relief Society Presidency

Teacher Appreciation 2016

Last weekend, the stake Public Affairs committee hosted the 17th annual Teacher Appreciation Awards Night! 44 teachers were honored. Principals from TunderRidge, Mountain Vista, Highlands Ranch, and Rock Canyon attended, as well as Superintendent Liz Fagan, and school board members Wendy Vogel and Meghan Silverthorn.

The Public Affairs committee did an incredible job organizing, decorating, providing a beautiful dessert buffet, cleaning, and doing a million other things in order to make the night a huge success. Many, many stake members also pitched in to help get everything done that needed to get done.

Thank you to everyone who helped and participated! It truly was a memorable night for everybody who took part!