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.

Click here to see Lakewood CityTV's video on Project Shepherd.

Click here to make an online donation to Project Shepherd.

Click for mail-back Project Shepherd donation form to send with a check.

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.

Paper teddy bear tree ornaments

'Teddy Bear Tree' program

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 available at City Hall and Burns Community Center between Nov. 18 to Dec. 4. 

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 before Monday, Dec. 7. 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.

Here are some COVID-safe ways to support Project Shepherd:

Donate by Dec 2 and get five chances to win a $100 gift cardIn-person options

Make your selection from the Teddy Bear Trees available at the locations below between Nov. 18 to Dec. 4, purchase the child's wish, and return it to:

  • Burns Community Center lobby, 5510 Clark Ave., Lakewood, between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.
  • Near the check-in table inside the Clark Avenue lobby entrance of City Hall between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.

If you deliver the gift you purchased (along with the chosen teddy bear ornament) by Dec. 2, you will be entered into a drawing (see below) for one of five $100 gift cards to be held Dec. 4. The final deadline to drop off the purchased gifts is Monday, Dec. 7.

Virtual Options

Go to and choose one of the online giving options described below. If you do so by Wednesday, Dec. 2, you will automatically be entered into a drawing (see below) for one of five $100 gift cards.

  • At, you can select a specific child's wish to sponsor through our virtual Teddy Bear Tree (starting Nov. 18).
  • Or, you can donate a set amount to sponsor gifts and let Project Shepherd purchase toys on your behalf to help ensure all children's wishes are fulfilled. 

Another option is to visit our Amazon gift registry at to purchase a child's gift and have it sent directly to the program. NOTE: If you choose to purchase toys via Project Shepherd's Amazon wish list at, be sure to email your receipt to by Dec. 2 to be entered into the drawing held Dec. 4 (see below).

Gift baskets of holiday meal fixings

This year due to COVID-19, all food will be purchased in bulk for the program. Participants will receive items for a holiday meal, as well as a grocery gift card. 

You can help us purchase these items through our virtual canned food drive at

Items will be distributed to registrants Dec. 18-19 at the Lakewood Youth Center via curbside pickup. 

Click here for information on how to register for holiday help.

Your donation gives you five chances to win a $100 gift card

In appreciation of those who help the less fortunate, Lakewood Center, the Greater Lakewood Chamber of Commerce, and the City of Lakewood are offering five chances to win a $100 gift card to those who donate to Project Shepherd between Oct. 1 and Dec. 2. You are automatically entered if you make a donation or sponsor a gift, online or in person, by Dec. 2 (see above for how to enter if you use Project Shepherd's Amazon wish list). 

Prize drawing held Dec. 4 live during Tree Lighting broadcast

The drawing will be held on Friday, Dec. 4 and announced live during the Tree Lighting Event. Tune into the live event at 6:30 p.m. on CityTV channel 31 (Spectrum and Frontier), channel 99 (AT&T) or the city’s website to see if you are a winner! Five $100 gift cards will be given away, so each person who has supported Project Shepherd will have five chances to win! (Winners need not be watching the live broadcast to win. They will also be notified after the broadcast.)

Rotary Club of Lakewood's Teddy Bear Tree booth Dec. 5-6

Visit the Rotary Club of Lakewood booth at the Costco Plaza at Lakewood Center on Dec. 5 and 6 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. to choose a Teddy Bear ornament with a child's wish. Then, "Shop Lakewood" for the gift and return it directly to the Rotary Club booth. One-stop shop!  

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. The year-round needs of the food pantry make non-perishable food and basic goods donation always welcome. In addition, utility bill assistance can be provided to qualified applicants.

"People need help throughout the year, not just in the month of December," said Caitlin Cariaso, Community Services Supervisor. "Working with Project Shepherd through our food pantries at the Burns Community Center and Palms Park, we can help residents year-round with emergency food assistance."

Click here for information on how to donate to the food pantry.

Click here for information on how to apply for emergency help.

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. Call 562-925-7512 for more information, or for questions about donating to the program.

Click here for information on how to register for Project Shepherd assistance, including the backpack program. 

Project Shepherd 2020 sponsors