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Community Partner Spotlight: Lantern House of Ogden

Updated: Dec 1, 2022

In 2021, the Lantern House of Ogden, a local homeless shelter and food kitchen, housed approximately 600 individuals from July - September. In 2022, that number doubled to 1,200. This is just one startling indication that the housing crisis in Utah, and across the country, is not abating any time soon. Alarmingly, 56% of those 1,200 are new to homelessness, meaning they have never been in any other shelter before. In other words, people in our community are falling into homelessness faster than housing solutions become available.

"We believe that everyone is ready and suitable for housing with the right resources, so if we find something permanent for them, we can find everything to support them in that endeavor," says Executive Director Lauren Navidomskis. Luckily, in the face of the housing crisis, Lauren and her dedicated staff aren't going anywhere. Lauren visited November's GMM (General Membership Meeting) to speak to JLO members about all the great work the Lantern House is doing and how the community can get involved. Then, later in the month, JLO members volunteered their time and served dinner to approximately 100 individuals at the Lantern House for November's Done in a Day project.

Lantern House is the only homeless shelter in northern Utah that doubles as a public soup kitchen. Anyone, not just those living at the Lantern House, is welcome visit and eat a hot meal (or two or seven or a hundred), seven days a week, three meals per day. This year, Lantern House is on track to serve about 150,000 meals, which is an increase from the 130,000 they typically serve in a year. This is despite only employing one full-time staff member to run the kitchen (Lantern House is extremely reliant on dedicated community volunteers) and on top of numerous other services provided by the shelter.

With a capacity of only 330 beds, the Lantern House is not going to end homelessness in northern Utah alone. They are doing incredible work, but they need help from the community. You can get involved by volunteering your time, giving money, and donating items. They are especially in need of canned fruits and vegetables (it takes 47 cans to serve one meal!) and, with the shifting weather, warm clothing is always welcome. Visit their website at https://www.stannescenter.org/donate to learn more.

A woman speaks to a group of seated attendees.
Executive Director Lauren Navidomskis visited November's GMM at the Eccles Art Center.

Lauren says, "I love what I do. I love my job, and it's not because of the paycheck I'm bringing home or the workers at the shelter, it's the community that we're in. Ogden is amazing."

Ogden is amazing, and it's because of devoted community members like you who are always striving to make it better. Thank you to everyone who joined us for our service project at the Lantern House! Our next Done in a Day project will be December 17 at Ogden's Christmas Village, where we will be handing out gifts to random individuals to spread kindness and Christmas Cheer. We hope to see you there!


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