Project Shepherd for those in need

Project Shepherd food drive

What is Project Shepherd?

Project Shepherd began in 1972 as a small program to help Lakewood residents at Christmas who needed a helping hand. For more than 50 years, thousands of residents have been served with emergency food, utility bill assistance, holiday food and gifts and other specialty requests.

Surveys show that more than one-third of Lakewood households have dealt with unemployment during a tough economy. Some recipients were former donors to the program, now in need of the very assistance they once helped to give.

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 through Burns Community Center and Palms Park.
In addition, utility bill assistance can be provided to qualified applicants.
The resource benefits hundreds of Lakewood families in crisis annually. The year-round needs of the food pantry make non-perishable food and basic goods donation always welcome. 


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. 


How to apply for assistance 

Project Shepherd applicants must be Lakewood residents (determined by current Lakewood mailing address and utility billing) and meet income restrictions. Families are served by either Burns Community Center or Palms Park, depending on the zip code of their residence.

Families in need may apply any time of year for help with the emergency food pantry or utility bill payment assistance.

To apply for assistance, please call the community center that serves the zip code of your residence:

Residence zip code Location Call

90712 or


Burns Community Center 562-925-7512
90715 Palms Park 562-865-6414


Seasonal programs

Project Shepherd collects 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.

Backpack Program

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

Applicants must be Lakewood residents and meet income restrictions. Call the Burns Community Center for more information.

December Holiday Program

This holiday program helps provide the fixings for a holiday meal and toys for children. Sign-ups are taken in November. 

Applicants must be Lakewood residents and meet income restrictions.