Sign twirlers attract passerbys while volunteers in “hope dealer” masks prepare boxes of necessities to give to families in need. It’s another Saturday for the Denver Dream Center. The Denver Dream Center is a Christian faith-based organization in North Denver, currently housed at the Senior Assistance Center on 44th Ave in Sunnyside.
Before the pandemic, one of their biggest programs was their adopt-a-block outreach where they threw block parties as a way to connect with neighbors and distribute hope boxes. Like everyone else the past year, they’ve pivoted, and now go door-to-door. “If you’re in need then you qualify,” explained Megan Barelli, who serves as Production Director and Volunteer Coordinator for the organization. Barelli said the organization gives away around 100 hope boxes at each adopt-a-block event but also serves families throughout the week on a more individual basis. In 2020, she said they distributed 2.5 million pounds of food and consistently serve around 2,000 families.
They aren’t a traditional food bank, though they often receive donations of food which they distribute along with hygiene products, cleaning supplies, and similar items. Barelli explained they try not to turn anything down and can usually find a good home for most useful donated items. One month it was finding mattresses for families in need for example.
In addition to their charitable distributions, they run a number of other community-centric programs such as THRIVE, which is a “multi-faceted, urban ministry focused on supporting and encouraging individuals with a history or current status of gang activity, substance abuse and/or transitioning from various levels of incarceration.”
They also run a scholarship program for students in need, working with over 200 students in Denver.
Like most nonprofits, the organization is looking for community support, namely time and money. They are asking for more volunteers to help with their adopt-a-block program and are hoping to acquire a bigger space. Anyone interested in learning more about the organization or getting involved should visit denverdreamcenter.org or call (720) 510-9113.