LIFT-UP is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing essential humanitarian assistance in the communities we serve. We provide food and other basic assistance to the unemployed, underemployed and homeless resident of Garfield, Pitkin and Eagle Counties.
LIFT-UP programs include:
• Food assistance program
Clients receive a mix of non-perishable and perishable items, such as dry beans, cereal, pasta canned vegetables, frozen meat, dairy and fresh produce. Clients can access this program once a month.
• The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)
Clients who qualify receive food assistance once a month through distribution of U.S. Department of Agriculture commodities.
• Commodity Supplemental Food Program (for Seniors)
Seniors who qualify receive a box of food once a month through the U.S. Department of Agriculture commodities.
• Extended Table Soup Kitchens
Soup Kitchen provides a hot nutritious meal for low income or homeless residents Monday - Friday from 5pm - 6pm nights at our Glenwood Springs location and Tuesdays and Thursdays at our Rifle location.
• Prescription Assistance program
Clients receive prescription help twice a year up to $100 each time.
• Thrift Store Voucher program
Clients can receive a voucher for clothing twice a year and household items once a year.
• Bus pass program
Clients receive bus pass to and from a verifiable job interview and doctor's appointment once a year.
• Meal Monkey Lunch
Kids 18 and under can receive a healthy sack lunch in four locations in Rifle, one location in Silt and one location in New Castle on Friday's.
LIFT-UP began meeting needs in the area in 1982; caring individuals, churches and businesses came together to pool resources to help local families in need. At the time, the region was experiencing rapid growth as thousands flocked to the area to find work in the oil shale industry. But not everyone found jobs or places to live, some even ended up sleeping in their cars and under bridges, without money to buy food. The Life Inter-Faith Team on Unemployment & Poverty (LIFT-UP) was formed, and the community directed food and other resources through this cooperative channel. When the oil shale industry collapsed in May of 1982, thousands found themselves unemployed overnight. LIFT-UP started providing assistance to the large number of people who suddenly found themselves in need of help. Rifle was our first location; over the year's locations were opened in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale, New Castle, Parachute, Aspen and Basalt. These seven locations allow LIFT-UP to serve those in need in all of Garfield County and part of Pitkin and Eagle counties. LIFT-UP made a change to our food assistance program due to the number of families and individuals needing help past the allowed number of times this program could be accessed. Families and individuals can access our food pantry once a month instead of the six times a year. In November of 2015 LIFT-UP added a Mobile Lunch Program called Meal Monkey for kids 18 and under. We distribute sack lunches on Fridays to targeted areas of lower income kids going to Garfield RE 2 schools go four days a week. We serve four locations in Rifle, one location in New Castle and one location in Silt. The lunches we provide consist of a vegetable, fruit, some type of protein, milk, and a snack. For the past two years we have continued to distribute the lunches on Friday's thru the summer. Last year we distributed over 3,000 lunches. For 2017 thru the end of June we have distributed 2,335 lunches. This program has had great success.
For 2016 we added a Mobile Food Pantry truck that goes to DeBeque Co. We recognized that there were no services available to the residents, so every third Wednesday of the month we distribute non perishable food items. The food pantries also provide other basic assistance such as prescription assistance, bus passes and thrift store vouchers, but our focus is healthy nutritious food.
In 1995 LIFT-UP launched the Extended Table Soup Kitchen in partnership with the First United Methodist Church in Glenwood Springs. The Extended Table, which we have renamed to Extended Table Community Dinner, serves a hot nutritious meal Monday through Friday from 5 to 6pm. In October of 2012 LIFT-UP launched another Extended Table with the United Presbyterian Methodist Church in Rifle. This location serves on Tuesday and Thursdays evenings from 5 to 6pm. The Extended Tables served 19,395 meals in 2015, which is another record high for LIFT-UP.
LIFT-UP soon recognized a need for sustainability, so in 1994 they opened a thrift store in Rifle and in 1996 one in Parachute was opened. The thrift stores have two purposes ones is to generate revenue for the organization and the other is allowing LIFT-UP the ability to give clothing and household items to families and individuals in need.
This past November and December we found our self in need of help. We had mounting medical bills due to a sick child and myself. This resulted in numerous ER visits and surgeries. We didn't have medical insurance at the time so the bills added up quickly. After all was said and done, we are paying $800 a month in past medical bills alone on top of mortgage and other various bills. We came to the point that we were struggling to keep food in the pantry and food on the table. In the month of November one of our debtors decided to raise our bill significantly a week or they were going to sue us. This was most of our budget for food. We had no choice but to swallow our pride and reach out for help. I reached out to a friend who told me about Lift Up and what it was all about. I called Debi and we arranged a time when we could meet. I remember crying all the way down there thanking God that there was someplace that could help us keep our children fed. And thanking him for the courage to ask for help.
When we arrived, I didn't know what to expect. Debi was so wonderful and just started filling boxes and bags of food for our family of seven. She was so sweet and caring. There was no judgment; just love.
Lift Up helped us get through Thanksgiving and Christmas. They helped me with jackets and snow pants for my kids so they could be warm this winter. We are so grateful for Lift Up and what they did for our family. They were a beaming light in a trying time of darkness. We appreciate them and we are internally grateful for providing what we needed and for their love and compassion.