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NCSL staff at volunteer eventBy Morgan Cullen

Last Friday, 22 NCSL staffers volunteered at the JeffCO Action Center Santa Workshop in Lakewood, Colo. Established in 1968, the Action Center specializes in helping households in crisis get back on their feet by providing the basic needs of food, clothing and shelter. 

Every year during the Christmas season the Action Center opens the Santa Workshop, where parents can come to pick out donated items for their children for Christmas. This year, the workshop provided toys to more than 5,000 children in need. The program gives parents the opportunity to “shop” free of cost for toys—helping them to maintain financial stability and ward off crisis.

As the size of the Santa Shop continues to grow, so does the need for committed volunteers within the community. For four years, NCSL staff has assisted the Santa Shop by sorting toys, stocking shelves and assisting parents pick out gifts Christmas gifts for their kids.

Longtime NCSL staffer, Bruce Feustel really enjoyed the experience at the action center:  “It was great to get out with my colleagues and do something positive for the community. I had some great conversations with some of the parents who were very appreciative of the Action Center and what we were doing. It was a wonderful opportunity.”

Before the volunteer day, NCSL staff organized a toy drive for the Action Center. NCSL staffer Peggy Kerns generously donated more than 20 gifts this year. “I had a work conflict and was disappointed I couldn’t volunteer this year, so I wanted to make sure I did my part. I am really happy there are reputable organizations like this in our community. And I am happy NCSL is doing its part to help out.”

While every little bit helps, there is still much more to accomplish. Of the 1,200 homeless people in Jefferson County, 73 percent have children. In fact, the average age of a client at the action center is only 12 years old. Learn more about the JeffCo Action Center and how to get involved here

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This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.

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