Project Shepherd

Project Shepherd volunteers

What is Project Shepherd?

Project Shepherd is a non-profit organization run by the City of Lakewood and the Rotary Club of Lakewood. Since 1972, this neighbor-to-neighbor assistance program has collected canned goods, dry staples, toys, backpacks and personal care items to distribute to Lakewood families in need throughout the year and around the holiday season.

Make an online donation to Project Shepherd

Items needed and how to donate

How to apply for help

Emergency Food and Utility Bill Assistance (year-round)

Project Shepherd's year-round emergency food pantry is precious to the people it serves every week of the year. The resource benefits hundreds of Lakewood families in crisis annually.

In addition, utility bill assistance can be provided to qualified applicants.

The year-round needs of the food pantry make non-perishable food and basic goods donation always welcome. 

Backpack Program

A backpack drive is held each year during the month of August to help children who are in need of school supplies. Sign-ups are taken in July and August at the Burns Community Center.

Applicants must be Lakewood residents (determined by a current Lakewood mailing address and utility billing) and meet income restrictions.

How to donate a backpack

You can drop off donations of new backpacks and school supplies appropriate for all ages donations at the Burns Community Center at 5510 Clark Ave. from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on weekdays or at Lakewood City Hall during business hours.

You can also easily contribute towards the program any time of year online through the Project Shepherd Backpack wish list on Amazon. Just go to, make your purchase, and it will be sent automatically to the program on your behalf.

For more information, see the flyer at, 1006KB) or call Burns Community Center at 562-925-7512.

Scholarships for Recreation Programs

Scholarships are available for residents with low income who would like to participate in recreation programs with the City of Lakewood, such as swim lessons, camps and other recreational programs. Please contact the Burns Community Center at 562-925-7512 for more information before registering for a class or program.

December Holiday Program

Project Shepherd makes the December holidays a bit more comfortable for those who are low income or unemployed. This holiday program helps provide the fixings for a holiday meal and toys for children. Over 1,200 individuals living in Lakewood, many of them children and seniors, will not be able to enjoy the holidays without the food, gifts and toys that many of us take for granted.

Applicants can sign up in November and must be Lakewood residents (determined by a current Lakewood mailing address and utility billing) and meet income restrictions. Call 562-925-7512 for more information, or for questions about donating to the program.

'Teddy Bear Tree' program

Paper teddy bear tree ornaments 

Reaching out to Lakewood's young people with a special gift is yet another way Project Shepherd makes the holidays brighter.

Teddy Bear Trees are set up at City Hall and Burns Community Center from mid-November to early December.

On each tree are paper teddy bear ornaments with a child's name, age and holiday gift wish. Anyone can select a paper teddy bear and play "Santa" by purchasing the item for the child. The unwrapped gift and the teddy bear ornament are brought to City Hall or to Burns Community Center. These gifts are then delivered along with holiday meal fixings to the child's family.

Thanks to our generous community, the Project Shepherd Teddy Bear Tree program fulfills special toy or gift wishes for more than 700 children each holiday season.

Project Shepherd is very grateful to our sponsors and the Lakewood community for their extraordinary generosity.

Project Shepherd 2023 Sponsors