Sevens began in 2006 as a street outreach ministry in Boulder County. We spent our time caring for homeless youth and adults, at-risk teens, the working poor, and anyone who lived on the streets of Boulder. We sought out the hurting and brokenhearted to build positive relationships with them so we could help them experience the love and grace of the Heavenly Father instead of the abuse and neglect they were used to.
We did weekly street outreach, passing out clean socks, sleeping bags, and food, and spent time in conversation with people who were overlooked and under-loved.
We hosted a home cooked meal in the park EVERY Saturday night for eight years. Our volunteers helped us buy, prepare, and serve a hot meal giving us the opportunity to touch base while sharing a meal with our friends on the streets.
We created Sevens Packs (not a new idea) which contained helpful items for those living on the streets. My blog post about these “homeless goodie bags” went viral and cycles around again a few times a year on Facebook.
A huge focus of our ministry was helping believers learn how to show up in the lives of “the least of these”and build meaningful, healing relationships that introduce others to Jesus. Outside of speaking to churches and youth groups, we hosted SABBATH groups. These week-long spring break and summer programs were designed to inspire and equip teens and adults to find those they are built to “love on”. We still hear stories about the lives that were changed and redirected after spending a week with us.
Over time we realized there was a gaping hole in our mission. While we loved inspiring and equipping through our SABBATH groups, when summer ended, it was just our family reaching out. We had extra help on Saturday nights at our meals in the park, but Benny was on his own most of the time while doing street outreach.
About that same time, I got involved with a friend’s food bank ministry, so we talked about shifting our focus. Some of our friends who had found a way to get off the streets and into housing were struggling to feed themselves, and in some cases, feed their families. As a mom and a former food-insecure child myself, I knew there was more we could do to help our friends and their children get good, quality food. I would find a way.
Word spread and soon I had friends slipping me names of people in our circles of influence who were struggling. In one family, the husband (and sole provider) was having health problems and was out of work for several months. Another friend was a single working mom trying to stretch her food stamps as far as she could but still coming up short each month. Another family was working, but diapers and formula were really expensive and stretched them too thin. Story after story of people we cared about needing a little help, and we had a way to provide for them. Of course we took it!
The money that had been coming in for SEVENS – that made it possible for Benny do work for SEVENS full-time, slowly dwindled. Financial situations changed for our friends and supporters, and in a few cases, people who had been supporting us for ten years were moving into new seasons and wanting to support mission work in other areas. We are so grateful for their faithfulness to us and the work we are passionate about! They helped us change lives!
Where we are now
A little over a year ago, Benny suddenly had the opportunity to buy the cigar shop he had been working at a few hours each week. Our dream is for this to be our “tent-making” opportunity that will not only eventually fund our ministry goals for SEVENS, but fund our future passions as well. We have children who may want to go to college and we’d like to be able to help them do so. We have NEVER taken a family vacation. Ever. We still dream of building a mobile shower and laundry unit we can drive around to help people. We are not finished yet.
We still have some amazing supporters who send money each month, and pray for and encourage us. Without them, I don’t know how I’d continue to run our food bank. We bought, sorted, packaged, and delivered over 20 TONS of food last year alone. We are still going strong.