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Douglas/Elbert Task Force
MISSION STATEMENT: The Douglas Elbert Task Force is a 501(c) (3) human service organization whose mission is to meet the immediate needs of residents of Douglas and Elbert counties who are in financial distress and at risk of becoming homeless, to help them work through troublesome times with dignity.
- MISSION STATEMENT: The Douglas Elbert Task Force is a 501(c) (3) human service organization whose mission is to meet the immediate needs of residents of Douglas and Elbert counties who are in financial distress and at risk of becoming homeless, to help them work through troublesome times with dignity.
In 2014 the Task Force provided 15,519 community members with $1,148,803 of direct and in-kind client assistance, a 9% increase from 2013.
In 2014 the Task Force was named "Best Local Non-Profit Organization," "Best Consignment/Thrift Store," and "Best Store to Buy Books" for the third straight year by Douglas County News Press readers.
Volunteers provided 36,625 hours of service in 2014, the equivalent of 30.6 full-time staff.
D/ETF distributed more than 40,000 items from Treasures on Park Street in 2014, valued at $122,751. Clients may shop for free in the thrift store for clothing, shoes, household items, and furniture.
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. Mrs. Mela Rudolph, the organization's founder, began by setting up an emergency assistance center in her garage. As the community grew, the agency expanded to begin serving residents of Douglas County, and later Elbert County. For 31 years, the Douglas/Elbert Task Force has worked to provide and expand services to community residents who are most in need. In 2010 D/ETF purchased a 17,000 Sq. Ft. building, which now houses all agency services under one roof. The building is currently being renovated in order to enhance and improve client services. In this one-stop facility, bi-lingual staff and volunteers provide critical services to community members requiring emergency assistance. Support includes both in-kind and financial contributions from foundations, individuals, businesses, service organizations and area congregations.
In 2014 the Task Force provided 15,519 community members with $1,148,803 of direct and in-kind client assistance, a 9% increase from 2013.
We are dedicated to improving service delivery to clients. With the move to a larger facility in 2010, the agency has expanded the scope of its programs. Planning efforts focus on making the best use of the facility, and continuing to grow collaborative relationships within the community in order to help clients access all available resources that will assist them as they move toward self-sufficiency. Our greatest need is for continued financial support and donations to maintain our food bank, which feeds over 80% of our clients.
The latest poverty statistics 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. According to the 2014 report by the Colorado Children's Campaign, Colorado still has a high percentage of childhood poverty even with the improving economy. Many of our clients have children suffering from food insecurity.
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 even gas for 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 a month. With over 80% of our clients receiving food, addressing this need is our priority.
In the last fiscal year, the value of in-kind food, toiletry and household donations exceeded $822,406. However, this does not cover the demand for food and services, and our cost for purchased food exceeded $66,000. (We give each family member enough non-perishable food for seven days, depending upon Food Bank stock, three meals a day plus snacks, including protein, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and toiletries; donated perishable foods are distributed liberally on the same day received).
Food insecurity is particularly hard on the elderly who are living on fixed incomes and have mobility and transportation issues. One of our main areas of concern is meeting the needs of our elderly clients by providing special foods such non-sugar items for our diabetic clients, small meals, and meal supplements such as Ensure and Glucerna. We provide "Depends" and other toiletry items for seniors such as toilet paper, Kleenex, toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, and denture cream. These items, rarely donated, are purchased with money from our general fund. Douglas County is experiencing tremendous 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, updated March, 2014).
For over 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 2014 the Task Force provided 15,519 community members with $1,148,803 of direct and in-kind client assistance, a 9% increase from 2013. 38% of Task Force clients are children. Approximately 16% of our client households were new in 2014, and we continue to be challenged to meet the needs in our community and improve our services.
In 2014 we distributed $760,355 in food, hygiene, and household supplies. Approximately 80% of agency clients receive these basic services.
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 $60,256 in rent assistance for 228 households in 2014, a 6% increase over 2013. We also have seen constant demand in utility requests and provided $139,125 in utility assistance (heat, electric, water) to clients with shut-off notices in 2014 (612 households). We provided $22,460.00 in emergency overnight assistance (486 nights of lodging) in 2014, a 22% increase over 2013.
We impact our growing low-income older adult community by providing a twice monthly off-site Food Bank to two elder adult low-income complexes in Castle Rock. Older adult clients at Oakwood and Reyn Rock Plaza, who could not otherwise come to our Food Bank because of their physical condition or lack of transportation, can receive the food they need to survive. We estimate that this program provides low-income older adults 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 36% of our annual revenue in 2014. Treasures is staffed by volunteers and one full-time Store Manager, two Assistant Managers 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. We distributed more than 40,000 items to clients from Treasures on Park Street in 2014, valued at $122,751. Clients may shop for free in the thrift store for clothing, shoes, household items, and furniture.
Volunteers provided 36,625 hours of service in 2014, the equivalent of 30.6 full-time staff. Volunteers are the lifeblood of our organization, and over 250 dedicated volunteers serve in various positions throughout the agency, including the food bank, thrift store, client services, office, Board of Directors, fundraising and special projects.
As we continue to provide a safety net for residents of Douglas and Elbert Counties, we are also working to achieve long-term solutions to the problems facing these individuals and families through our collaborative relationships with other organizations. New in 2015, we have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network to provide in-house mental health services to our clients. We have also signed a MOU with The Crisis Center (TCC), an agency that refers clients who are victims of abuse to the Task Force so that these clients can receive emergency overnight lodging. We refer select clients to Douglas County's Community of Care Navigator for more intensive counseling, helping clients achieve the goal of self-sufficiency. This collaboration, which serves the community's most vulnerable members, includes the Castle Rock Senior Center, the Castle Rock Police Department, Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health, and the Douglas County Sheriff's Office.
We also collaborate with corporate donors, including Target, Safeway, Starbucks, Chipotle, Douglas County Dolphins, local restaurants and churches, and others. The Task Force also collaborates with Food Bank of the Rockies, the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), Catholic Charities, 9Cares Colorado Shares, local Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, The Rock Church, several local Rotary groups, and other service organizations.
Executive Director Statement
The Douglas/Elbert Task Force is one of only a few emergency services organizations serving clients in Douglas and Elbert counties. 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 assistance. We offer help with one-time unusual requests, such as GED fees, scrubs or specific work clothing, books for adults returning to school, etc. We provide emergency lodging to victims of crime and stranded motorists and work closely with the Castle Rock Police and Douglas County Sheriff Department, which provide Task Force vouchers to homeless and transient clients who require overnight lodging or food during hours that we are closed. We also receive referrals from The Crisis Center for victims of domestic violence, and often provide funds for changing locks, long-distance transportation, identification and emergency overnight lodging.
In addition to providing merchandise for clients, 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), and new gifts and prizes from our Birthday Room.
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 Network, 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. New in 2015, we have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network to provide in-house mental health services to our clients.
We are dedicated to improving service delivery to clients. With the move to a larger facility in 2010, the agency has expanded the scope of its programs. Planning efforts focus on making the best use of the facility, and continuing to grow collaborative relationships within the community in order to help clients access all available resources that will assist them as they move toward self-sufficiency.
Through our planning efforts, in addition to pro-bono work and community donations, the agency has been able to address many of the remaining renovations needed in the new facility, completing energy efficient measures and improvements to reduce utility bills, and installing a sprinkler system to bring the facility up to current code. Additional funds were secured to renovate Suite A, a 4,000 Sq. Ft. unused space on the west side of the building, and construction is almost complete. The suite houses a new client services area, increasing the agency's ability to serve more than one client at a time with greater privacy. Treasures on Park Street will expand into the former client services area to allow the display and sale of more goods to support agency operations.
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. Clients find "Help & Hope Here!" everyday. Please come visit us and see us at work!
Board Chair/President Statement