Frisco Gabriel House opens its doors to parents in need
Father Michael Glenn led the blessing of the Gabriel House on Sunday, in support of the new Summit nonprofit. The Gabriel House, which opened in Frisco on Sept. 28, welcomes parents from across the mountain area to provide much-needed child care resources.
“The desire of everyone here is to see children taken care of,” Glenn said. “It’s a grace to be there for new moms and encourage them.”
The Gabriel House in Frisco is the ninth to open in Colorado, and the first to open in the mountain corridor. Sponsored by Catholic Charities of Denver, each house supplies women with clothing, diapers, formula and other necessities for infants and young children. Members of both Our Lady of Peace in Silverthorne and St. Mary’s Church in Breckenridge help staff the house with volunteers.
Gabriel Project executive director Mimi Eckstein said the house has seen single parents, local families, immigrants and several others come through its doors. Catholic Charities helped finance the house and provide training for volunteers after community leaders approached them.
“The planners came to us and said we don’t have these kinds of services or enough of them,” Eckstein said. “We discussed the need. We’re looking to really support the community, and provide for families with young children.”
She said while the house provides several services, it also helps direct parents to other community services, such as the Family and Intercultural Resource Center, for parenting classes, nutritional and housing assistance.
“It’s wonderful of Catholic Charities to help us,” Glenn added. “We certainly saw a need in the county for it.”
Summit County Gabriel House coordinator Joan Newby said the house has seen 16 clients in the past two months, in addition to individuals dropping in to pick up child care necessities.
“It’s just a start,” Newby said.
Despite the fresh start, the donations have already begun pouring in, with stacks of formula, diapers, wipes and other supplies in one closet, and several large bins full of children’s clothing. Shelves full of toys for Christmas gifts also filled the back room.
In addition, the house has several racks of tiny, brand new snowsuits, thanks to a $1,000 donation from the Knights of Columbus.
“One of the moms was really touched and said it was the first time she had something new for her children,” volunteer Graciela Harris said. “We try to provide good quality clothes for them.”
She added that many families came to the house simply looking for clothes, especially since the cold winter weather has arrived to the county.
“There are so many seasonal jobs here that people come here for, but not high-paying jobs,” she added.
Despite all the donations, the Gabriel House has noted a need for clothing for children ages three to five and children’s snow boots. The house also needs one additional volunteer, who can serve Wednesday evenings.
“Normally, it takes a little while for word to spread. But not up there,” Eckstein said. “We take everyone that comes through the door.”
The Gabriel House in Frisco, located at 18 School Road, is open on Mondays, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Wednesdays from 3-7 p.m. Donations, such as new or used clothing in good condition, may be dropped off at the house during business hours.
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