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Douglas/Elbert Task Force
- MISSION STATEMENT: The DouglasElbert Task Force endeavors to meet the immediate needs of residents of Douglas and Elbert County who are in financial distress and at risk of becoming homeless, to help them work through troublesome times with dignity.
Our agency provided over $1 million in assistance to residents of Douglas and Elbert Counties who were in financial crisis and facing homelessness in 2012
Our agency was voted "Best Local Non-Profit," "Best Thrift Store," and "Best Store to Buy Books," by readers of the Douglas County News Press in 2012 and 2013!
Treasures on Park Street, our amazing thrift store, accounts for about 27% of our revenue, and is truly a treasure trove of wonderful merchandise at rock bottom prices!
In 1984, Castle Rock churches joined forces to create a centralized location to send people in need, and to encourage volunteerism by providing opportunities for their congregations to become directly involved with their community. The Douglas/Elbert Task Force is a 501(c)(3) non-profit human service organization dedicated to providing assistance to people in Douglas and Elbert Counties who are in serious economic need, at risk of homelessness, or in similar crisis for almost 30 years. We own a building at 1638 Park Street, which houses our Food Bank, thrift store and Client Service Administrative offices. Of the 15,684 people served at the Task Force in 2012, approximately 50% were children. The D/ETF's need-based services are made possible by over 200 volunteers and the support of our communities.
#1. Our greatest need is for continued financial suppport and donations to maintain our food bank, which fed almost 14,000 clients in 2012.
Hunger happens every day. Hungry children cannot learn and overwhelmed parents need help. Receiving food from the Food Bank that would ordinarily come out of a food budget allows our clients to put that money toward paying other bills--utility bills, rent, prescriptions, or putting gas in the family car. Receiving food from the Food Bank means that children go to bed with a full stomach and wake up to a healthy breakfast, at least one week each month. Since 86% of our clients request food, this is our #1 priority.
The 2012 D/ETF statistics show that almost 86% of our clients, half of whom are children, receive basic food services, including diapers, formula, and special dietary items. In 2012, we distributed $697,803 in food, hygiene and household supplies. In addition we conduct two Off-Site Food Banks monthly at low-income senior housing units, providing approximately $75,000 of food/hygiene assistance per year to senior citizens in need.
#2. We need financial assistance to complete the renovation of our building. While we have renovated about 80% of our building and anticipate completing an energy-saving upgrade program by September 2013 that will reduce our monthly utility bills, we need to renovate a 4,000 sq. ft. suite that will house an expanded Client Services area. Moving Client Services from its current location next to our thrift store will provide clients with more privacy, and should allow us to serve about 20% more clients each day.
#3. We need ivolunteers to operate our thrift store, Treasures on Park Street. Treasures provides new and used clothing, household items and furniture to the community for a nominal fee. (Clothing and household items are provided free to clients). Treasures revenue helps to pay for the costs associated with our dramatic increase in emergency assistance requests from unemployed and underemployed clients. Displaced workers with mortgage payments end up as foreclosure casualties as job searches drag on. Colorado families are barely getting by, often going without health care and other necessities. We see these new clients daily at the Task Force.
#4. Ten per cent of our clients are seniors. We need continued financial help to maintain our offsite Food Banks at two low-income senior complexes in Douglas County and help with items specific to senior populations.In addition to providing essential food and hygiene supplies, the Off-site Food Banks provide an opportunity for volunteerism as residents set up and distribute the supplies, as well as a time for socialization.
We expect this number to grow as Douglas County has a high growth in the aging population with households living on fixed incomes and experiencing high health costs. By the year 2030, seniors are projected to be approximately 20% of the total County population. Source: Douglas County Planning Office- Pop. & Dev. Report, March, 2013.
#5. We need financial help to provide emergency assistance to clients in crisis to help struggling families and individuals and a growing poverty population in Douglas and Elbert counties move toward self-sufficiency.
The latest poverty statistics, reported in 2011, indicate that in Douglas County, 4% of the population had incomes below the poverty level. Another 6.6% had incomes above the poverty level but less than 2.00 times the poverty level. Altogether, there were 29,609 people with incomes less than 2.00 times the poverty level, representing 10.6% of the County population. Additionally, according to the 2012 report by the Colorado Children's Campaign, Colorado has the fastest growing rate of childhood poverty in the nation. The 2012 "KidsCount" released in March shares information and trends that impact the lives and well-being of children living in Colorado.
For almost 30 years, we have been providing emergency services in our community to serve low-income and moderately low-income residents throughout suburban and rural Douglas and Elbert Counties. In 2012, we assisted 15,684 clients, over 50% of whom were children. Approximately 16% of our clients were new in 2012, and like many other agencies, it was a very challenging year for non-profits to serve the increased need.
We impact our community by preventing homelessness--helping to keep families and individuals in their homes, food on the table and their utilities on.
We serve clients who present eviction or foreclosure notices with financial assistance in order to prevent homelessness, and help clients with security deposits to obtain new living arrangements. We provided $57,260 in housing assistance in 2012, preventing homelessness for 236 households. We also have seen dramatic increases in utility requests and provided $186,866 in 2012 for 676 households with disconnect notices.
We impact our growing low-income senior citizen community by providing a once a month Off-site Food Bank to two elder adult low-income complexes in Castle Rock. Senior clients at Oakwood and Reyn Rock Plaza, who could not otherwise come to our Food Bank because of their physical condition or lack or transportation, can receive the food they need to survive. We estimate that this program provides low-income seniors with $75,000 worth of food and hygiene supplies yearly.
Our thrift store, Treasures on Park Street, providing new and nearly new clothing and household goods helps fund our service mission. Treasures provided approximately 27% of our annual revenue in 2012. Treasures is staffed by volunteers and one full-time Store Manager, an Assistant Manager and a two-person donations-intake team who job share.Treasures impacts the community by providing volunteer opportunities for community residents to help those less fortunate than themselves. Over 34,00 items valued at $102,129 were distributed free of charge to D/ETF clients in 2012.
We also impact the community through our collaborative efforts and support from the local Castle Rock community, Douglas County Human Services, Elbert County Social Services, towns and businesses within the counties. We also extend our services by collaborating with the Women's Crisis and Family Outreach Center, Parker Task Force, local law enforcement agencies, other smaller food banks to share and distribute food to greater numbers of Douglas and Elbert County residents. Service Organizations like Rotary, Kiwanis, Boy and Girl Scouts provide essential volunteer assistance and contribute to our fundraising efforts.
Executive Director Statement
The Douglas/Elbert Task Force is one of only a few emergency services organizations serving clients in Douglas County or Elbert County and the only emergency services organization serving both counties in their entirety.
We are unique in that we provide immediate relief to clients who need assistance. Clients visiting our agency usually leave with something tangible--food, clothing, household goods, etc. Clients also know, generally within 4 hours, whether or not we will be able to assist with utility payments and within 24 hours for rent/mortgage. We offer help with one time unusual requests, such as GED fees, special costs for children's school fees for sports or music, scrubs or specific work clothing, books for adults returning to school, etc.
Collaboration plays a very important part of the work we're able to accomplish on behalf of our clients. We are fortunate to work in a community where all human service agencies work cooperatively to provide services to clients. We helped found and continue to work with The Community of Care, a consortium of Douglas County government, non-profit agencies, businesses, churches and individuals to develop a collaborative programming for clients living in Douglas Counties to prevent homelessness and foster self-sufficiency. We coordinate programs and information on a regular basis with all the volunteer and human service agencies in Douglas County. We meet monthly to discuss issues and update our activities and programs. This has been a very successful way to increase collaboration with other non-profits in Douglas County.
We provide emergency lodging to victims of crime and stranded motorists and work closely with the Castle Rock Police and Douglas County Sheriff Department. The Douglas County Sheriff's and Castle Rock Police Departments provide Task Force vouchers to homeless and transient clients who require overnight lodging or food during hours that we are not open. We also receive referrals from the Women's Crisis and Family Outreach Center and often provide funds for changing locks, long-distance transportation, non-narcotic prescription drugs, identification and overnight lodging.
In addition, we provide in-kind donations from our thrift store, Treasures on Park Street, to other non-profit organizations, churches, schools (clothing, household items, books, videos, costumes, and theater props).
In 2010, we moved our offices, Client Services, Food Bank, and thrift store into a 17,000 square foot facility that houses all of our agency services, including our store, under one roof. In February, 2011 we bought our building!
One of the nicest aspects of our building is the atmosphere in the Client Services waiting area. We've gone from a tiny reception area that was incredibly crowded and noisy--it was not at all unusual to have clients seated in folding chairs in two hallways and our conference room, and to step over children who were lying on the floor--to an airy, quiet space with room for kids to play safely.
Our renovation plans call for moving Client Services to the west end of our building into an expanded area with a more expansive client reception area and additional offices. This move will create a more private environment for clients, as well as allow us to increase the number of clients we see on a daily basis by about 20%.
People who are in crisis operate under incredible stress. Having a calm, warm, quiet place to come, and being greeted and made welcome by a smiling volunteer immediately diffuses some of that stress. Having the opportunity to be listened to and to be heard by staff who not only understand but who can often make a difference that day is an incredible relief, particularly for clients with children. We go through many, many boxes of tissues, and hugs are given liberally at the Task Force.
Our mission is, in part, to help clients work through troublesome times with dignity. That ideal is always at the forefront of the work we do here.
Board Chair/President Statement