Fennie Community Fund
Legal-name: Precious Lamb Preschool
Address: 2005 Palo Verde Ave PMB 301
City: Long Beach
Organizational-status: 501 C 3
Ranking-title: Lailanie Jones, Executive Director
First-name: Erin Wilson
Title: Development Director
Textarea-499: We are seeking support for our school’s fresh food program, which provides 200 breakfasts and 200 lunches each week to our students, who are homeless.
What-is-project: Since 2002, Precious Lamb Preschool has provided full time, high quality early education at no cost to children facing homelessness. The school was founded in 1999, when the City of Long Beach had no resources for young homeless children and their parents, and most kids spent the day in shelters, meetings or classes with their parent with little opportunity for growth and learning. A unique school like ours provides a safe, stimulating and nurturing place for young children, allowing parents to go to school, find work or housing, or seek sobriety. We have served nearly 600 children to date, and have recently expanded to three classrooms (toddler, preschool, and pre-k) to meet the ever growing needs of our community. Children learn everything from motor skills, social skills, and potty training, to reading, writing, music, sports, and kindergarten preparation. Along with class and playground time, our students receive breakfast and lunch every day, prepared by our own on-site cooks, who use only fresh and healthy ingredients. Our food program allows kids to learn table manners and utensil use, table manners, healthy food and produce (they even harvest produce from our site garden), and most importantly, gives them a full belly so they do not go home hungry. Most our families live in temporary housing that does not provide food, so, while we do not know what/if our students eat the rest of the day, we know that they were each fed a wholesome and filling meal at school. Currently our entire food program budget and cook salaries are built in to our current budget. Aside from sparse pantry donations, Precious Lamb incurs all costs to keep our students well fed. We are seeking a grant of $8,000 to subsidize the increasing costs of food and supplies to feed 40 homeless children a week a handmade breakfast and lunch.
How-will-you-succeed: Success will be measured through data collection; how many meals served, how many children fed, etc. The budget will be constantly re-assessed to ensure best value, and collaboration will be encouraged wherever possible to reduce costs while maintaining quality. Internally, our Food Program Directors (cooks) are surveying which meals were liked/ disliked, what foods are in season, most healthy, and most cost effective.
Program sustainability is crucial to our school’s stamina. Precious Lamb hosts two large fundraisers a year as well as a campaign to generate steady, monthly support, and intend to apply for other grant opportunities to fund our various programs. We also seek in-kind donations of food items, kitchen tools and serving items, and meal donations from donors such as Chick-Fil-A, Hotel Maya, and other groups who like to give back in this way.
Who-are-you: Precious Lamb Preschool is a unique early education center in Long Beach, CA. We provide full time, faith-based early education to children ages 18 months to five years facing homelessness. All of our families live in temporary housing in partner programs we are on a referral system with, and children are eligible as long as their parent is in a program with the hope it will lift their family out of homelessness (drug/alcohol treatment, counseling, job training, schooling toward GED or diploma). Our mission it to break the cycle of homelessness, one child at a time. We do this through a whole-family approach, treating each family with respect, dignity, and love, and providing mentoring and other resources for parents. Our high -quality program is uniquely small, with one teacher for every four kids, and classrooms capped at 15 students.
Founded in 1999 by Sharalyn Croft, who saw a need in the city where no programs for young children facing homelessness existed. She dreamed of a place with a private school, faith-based environment that allowed for the nurturing and educational approach to helping at-risk children succeed academically as well as emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Early supporters included many individuals and local churches who believed in her vision, and to date the majority of our gifts are from individuals (close to 40%), of whom half are long time monthly partners. We rely heavily on volunteer support, of whom give 5,000 hours a year, and work very closely with many community partners, including CSULB, LBUSD, Leadership Long Beach, Ground Ed, Long Beach Community Foundation, Disney, jetBlue, and many businesses, churches, and other schools to provide volunteer services with our students, families, facility, and operations.