History of the Senior Assistance Center

Senior Assistance Center (SAC) was founded in 1981 as a nonprofit tax-exempt corporation to meet the emergency needs of Denver‘s elderly citizens living below 125% of poverty level. It began with one volunteer, one office and one telephone and since then, has grown consistently. In the last 10 months of our fiscal year (2015/2016) we have provided over 33,000 units of service to approximately 10,200 individuals including emergency services to over 400 families in the amount of $213,306. In 1995, the organization purchased our building in northwest Denver where we serve clients, store food for our pantry, offer 3 food banks per week and serve 5 communities including the onsite food bank at our office at 2839 W. 44th Avenue.  Through our partnership with ArtReach, Inc., SAC has provided 1,645 tickets to our clients for sporting events, museums and the arts at no charge. We have a small thrift store available for our clients to do some shopping when they attend the food bank.

Our Founder

In 1981 Lily was moved by seeing elderly people digging in trash bins and maneuvering hesitantly through busy city intersections. She decided to do something about making life easier for the area senior citizens and founded the Senior Assistance Center (SAC). Over the years, SAC has added a number of assistance programs, emergency financial services preventing eviction and utilities shut-off, providing for medical needs, food and emergency necessities, and low-cost, independent living facility at Winona Court. At the time Lily founded SAC, its approach to helping vulnerable senior citizens was unique in the Denver non-profit community.

Lily has always believed that dignity and respect, including self-respect, are the foundation of delivering services to the needy. For many, being as self-reliant as possible is essential to dignity. Therefore, in order to help as many seniors as possible, those who received assistance were encouraged to repay SAC through cash donations, if their situations made that possible, or through in-kind donations of volunteered time at SAC. Lily has felt that “a hand up is better than a hand out.”

She has also been adamant about hiring seniors for as many positions as possible at SAC, believing that seniors would be best qualified to serve their peers, and best accepted by those peers. For many seniors, working at SAC was an ideal way to maintain independence and self-sufficiency.

Today, a much broader-based SAC continues its charitable mission, providing much needed services to senior citizens. In the last few years, the SAC has seen changes in the demographics of its senior clients, as grandparents raising grandchildren sought assistance and seniors who had never lived in poverty found themselves needing to ask for help from SAC. SAC has served over one million. It distributed some 9,303 bags of food, donated 40 medical devices to those unable to buy or rent them, provided emergency financial assistance totaling $129,000 to 521 clients, gave out 300 blankets or articles of warm clothing and distributed 6,300 bus tokens.” After 28 years of service with SAC, Lily now runs Lily Organics in Brighton, Colorado.”

 

Time Line

1981 – Founded as Association for Senior Citizens by Lily Morgan

1995 – Purchased building at 2839 W 44th Ave, Denver,CO 80211

2002 – Named National Point of Light by President George H.W. Bush.

2006 – Finalist for Ethics in Business Samaritan Institute Award.

2006 – Outstanding Service Award presented to Carol CJ Johnson.

2008 – Appreciation Award for members of the Board of Directors presented to Carol CJ Johnson.

2009 – Carol CJ Johnson named as Executive Director.

2011 – Changed name to Senior Assistance Center.

2012 – Sawaya Trust Award presented to Carol CJ Johnson for her compassion, generous heart and commitment to the community.

2013 – Nominated as a semi-finalist for the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for outstanding small non-profit.

2014 – Added two mobile self-select food banks.

2014 – Nominated for the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for outstanding small non-profit.

2014 – Molly McGlobe Award from Laradon Hall presented to Carol CJ Johnson for her individual impact.

2015 – Selected by Kroenke Sports to participate in a fundraiser with the Colorado Mammoth.

2015 – Added two additional mobile self-selected food banks.