Special Events and Calendar

“Dare to reach out your hand into the darkness, to pull another hand into the light.” ~Norman B. Rice

Children in Need Service Events

Once per quarter, we host supply distribution and service events for children and families at the Matthews House Community Life Center (220 N. Grant Avenue in Fort Collins).  We distribute gear, outerwear, hygiene items and other supplies, and numerous partner organizations join us to provide attendees with a wide range of services and support: eye exams, health screenings, children’s books, art supplies, haircuts, resource information and pet food, among others. Attendees are referred to the events through the McKinney-Vento program in the local school district and/or through agencies that serve homeless children and families in Larimer County.

Events run from 9 AM to 11:30 AM. Upcoming dates are:

  1. September 19, 2015
  2. December 12, 2015
  3. February 20, 2016
  4. May 14, 2016

Volunteers are the driving force behind our Children in Need events. As many as 150 volunteers participate in each event, serving as “personal shoppers” for attending families, distributing supplies and managing event logistics, among other tasks. We ask volunteers to sign up for “shifts” (8:30 AM to 12:00 PM and  11:45 AM to 1:00 PM). The first shift participates in the event and the second shift cleans up after the event. Bilingual volunteers needed!

Please know that you can still just drop in if you didn’t get a chance to sign up.  We will never turn away volunteers.  To sign up for a shift, please contact Chelsey Mandell at Chelsey@HomelessGear.org or by phone at 970-587-3556.

Sam’s Club Collection Events

Fort Collins

One Saturday per month (11 AM to 4 PM), we collect donations, fire up a BBQ and interact with customers outside of the Sam’s Club in South Fort Collins. This is a fun and effective way for us to collect much-needed food-and-drink items, engage with the community and recruit new volunteers.

Events run from 10:30 AM to 4:30 PM. There are two volunteer shifts: 10:30 AM to 1:30 PM and 1:30 PM to 4:30 PM. Upcoming dates:

  • July 18
  • August 8
  • August 22
  • September 12
  • October 10
  • November 7
  • November 14
  • December 12

If you are interested in helping out, please contact Chelsey by phone at (970) 587-3556 or by email at Chelsey@HomelessGear.org.


Once per month, volunteers stand in front of the Loveland Sam’s Club (1200 E. Eisenhower Blvd.) and collect food/drink items from customers. Everything that we collect is distributed to children and families in the Thompson School District via (a) the McKinney-Vento program for homeless children and (b) the Loveland Rotary Kids Pak (a hunger relief  program that sends food bags home each weekend to families-in-need in the Thompson School District).

Events run from 10:30 AM to 4:30 PM. There are two volunteer shifts: 10:30 AM to 1:30 PM and 1:30 PM to 4:30 PM. Upcoming dates:

  • June 27
  • August 8
  • August 29
  • September 12
  • September 26
  • October 24
  • November 21
  • December 5
  • December 19

To sign up for a shift, contact Chelsey by phone at 970-587-3556 or by email at Chelsey@HomelessGear.org.

Special Projects:

Non Perishable Food & Take-Away Meal Program

From November 1st 2011 to March 31 2012 Homeless Gear collected, assembled, and distributed 5,000 breakfast sack meals for guests of the Fort Collins Emergency Overflow Shelter.  The overflow shelter serves the homeless that cannot get into our two permanent shelters due to lack of bed space.  Because of the overwhelming outpouring of support from the community for this project and the corresponding need for supplemental readily consumable food items and liquids by the homeless, our Non Perishable Food Program was born!

We are now collecting Non Perishable and Readily Consumable food/drink items year round for the homeless so that they can stay hydrated  & supplement their calorie needs with the 1-2 hot meals that are typically available to some (but not all) each day.  We will distribute these items at The Murphy Center, during our monthly distributions events, through some of the 40+ homeless facilities we support throughout Colorado and during our Night Street Outreach Program.

You or your group, class, troop, church or business can help in one of 5 ways:

  1. Collect and provide component food or drink items (see list below).
  2. Provide cash or gift cards for us to purchase component food/ drink items.
  3. Provide completed ready to eat “take away meals” (see below for details).
  4. Provide labor to assemble Take-Away Meals.
  5. Deliver Take-Away Meals to facilities in Fort Collins, Loveland, Greeley Longmont, Boulder, or Denver.

Components should be:Food & Drink Items:

  1. Able to be easily opened without mechanical devise
  2. Able to be eaten straight away or by adding hot water
  3. Non perishable or shelf life longer than six months
  4. Commercially produced and packaged
  5. In individual sized containers

Components: Use your imagination but here are some suggestions:

  • Juice Boxes, Capri Suns, Bottled Water
  • Granola Bars
  • Raisins
  • Cookies
  • Breakfast Bars
  • Pop Tarts
  • Fruit Rollups or Fruit Snacks
  • Peanut Butter or Cheese Crakers
  • Jerky
  • Trail Mix
  • Nuts
  • Fruit or Pudding Cups
  • Instant Soups
  • Instant Mac & Cheese

Take-Away Meals:

You can either provide “breakfast” or “lunch” oriented Take-Away Meals.

Basic Items (Breakfast or Lunch Meal)

  • Plastic Sack
  • Napkin
  • Disposable Spoon
  • Juice Box, Water, or Capri Sun
  • 2 or 3 ready to eat items (see component list)

Plus:  Breakfast Take-Away Meal:

  • Hot Chocolate Packet (just add water)
  • Instant Oatmeal Packet (just add water)
  • Disposable Bowl

Plus:  Lunch Take-Away Meal:

  • Cup-A-Noodles or Tuna/Crackers (ready to each containers)

If you would like to participate in any way (individual or group), would like to set up delivery or have questions please contact Chelsey Mandell by phone at (970) 587-3556 or by email at Chelsey@HomelessGear.org.