Castle Pines women gather to share goodness
Castle Pines residents (from left) Jean Hawkins, Karen Brown, and Pam Jones assemble a bedtime kit for local charity Sweet Dreams in a Bag.
By Lisa Crockett; photos courtesy of Corin Meibos
In keeping with an annual tradition, women in Castle Pines who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) spent a Saturday morning last month connecting with other women in the greater Castle Rock area. A “Women’s Conference” is held every year, typically with a focus on building religious faith by featuring inspirational speeches while also providing a social outlet complete with a festive brunch or luncheon. This year however, the conference featured inspiration of a different sort. It’s not unusual for a Women’s Conference to offer a community service project as a part of the day’s events, but this year serving others took center stage.
“We asked ten different people to each organize a community service project,” said Castle Pines resident Cindy Ewing, who oversaw the whole effort, coordinating the 200 volunteers in attendance. “We wanted to extend ourselves in the community and beyond, so we had some projects to benefit people locally, and others to benefit women and children in other countries.”
Toys like this wooden car were constructed at a community service event held last month in Castle Rock, hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Toys, bedding, school supplies, and a variety of other household items were prepared to be sent to worthy causes here in Colorado and around the world.
Many of the projects consisted of assembling a variety of kits and care packages. The projects benefited a multitude of worthy causes and ranged from assembling toys for children in underprivileged nations, to gathering warm clothing for families in Mongolia to sewing school dresses for little girls in Haiti. Closer to home, projects focused on helping children in distress, especially those in the justice system and the foster-care system.
Castle Pines resident Liz Tannyhill headed up the effort to collect donations for Sweet Dreams in a Bag, a Colorado charity that provides supplies necessary for a happy bedtime (bedding, a pillow, a fleece blanket, a stuffed animal and oral hygiene supplies) for children facing homelessness, transitional housing, and foster care. For many recipients, it is the only bedding they have ever owned.
“Being a part of this project has been such a wonderful journey,” said Tannyhill, who collected nearly $4,000 from local businesses to purchase supplies that were then assembled in completed kits on the day of the event. “I’ve loved the opportunity to have a good time with other women while we also get to make a difference in the world around us.”
The day’s success was totally dependent on the donation of necessary supplies – everything from pencils and thread to flannel and Ziploc bags. In total, the day’s activities called for the donation of roughly 1,500 items which were collected over several months. After donation goals were met, additional items were collected for a grand total of 2,223 items.
Lola Di Lello (right) and her daughter Rachael (left) write letters to men and women in uniform.
“Two of our projects doubled the amount of kits we planned to produce,” said Ewing. “Two other projects each created approximately 20 more kits than we planned on. Such generosity really touches my heart.”
At the end of the event, thousands of beneficial and necessary household items, school supplies and toys had been readied for use. The charities receiving donations each sent a representative to the event, so participants were able not only to help with the day’s projects, but also to explore opportunities for ongoing volunteer work.
“One memory I will carry with me always is the ‘wall of bedding bags’,” said Ewing. “Each bag that was assembled was prayed over that it would bring comfort and peace to the child that would receive it. So many [women] expressed how wonderful this experience was and how happy they were to participate.”