Tri-Lakes Cares is a community-based, volunteer-supported, resource center whose mission is to improve people's lives through emergency, self-sufficiency, and relief programs.
Tri-Lakes Cares (TLC) has been meeting the needs of economically disadvantaged residents of northern El Paso County for 35 years. Originally founded as a food pantry in 1984 by a group of citizens concerned for the wellbeing of the growing number of neighbors living in or near poverty, TLC quickly grew in response to its clients' evolving needs.
In a newsletter printed in December 1985 by St. Peter Catholic Church of Monument (a primary partner and supporter of TLC) noted that, among the various services provided in November 1985 that 10 families (28 people) were fed; $233.15 in utilities' assistance was distributed; and, 47 Thanksgiving meals were provided to 77 people valued at $564. By 2003, Tri-Lakes Cares had served 690 individuals and distributed approximately 60,000 lbs of donated food.
Steady growth is reflected when you look at our annual report for Fiscal Year 2018 (October 1, 2017 - September 30, 2018) where over 208,000 lbs of food and sundries were distributed through our six food pantry programs; $23,082 in utilities assistance was provided; 284 households received holiday food bags for Thanksgiving and Christmas along with gifts to 182 youth and 73 senior citizens (gifts valued at $28,327).
This growth also necessitated expansion of space. Once housed in the basement of the Lewis-Palmer Administration (School District 38) building (after residing several years in a smaller space), in March 2003 a move was necessitated due to growth within the school district. It was quickly realized that Tri-Lakes Cares needed its own building and a capital campaign was launched. Due to the generosity of the community, Tri-Lakes Cares moved into its own space in June 2007.
In recent years, Tri-Lakes Cares responded to both the Waldo Canyon Fire in 2012 and the Black Forest Fire in 2013 providing services to those displaced by the fire including food, clothing, household goods, financial assistance, and referrals to other organizations and agencies. The Black Forest Fire in particular was challenging since it was in our "own backyard." But, with partnerships like Care and Share Food Bank of Southern Colorado and the support of the local community we were able to provide 638 individuals (377 adults, 177 youth and 84 senior citizens) with over $97,845 donated inkind goods and services; and, $141,583 in financial assistance. This was accomplished while still delivering and maintaining services to our regular clients.
Today, TLC remains a grassroots organization - in fact, many of our programs continue to be managed by our many volunteers - operating a host of programs designed to help clients make ends meet, persevere through an emergency, and progress towards self-sufficiency. These include 7 pantry programs, housing and utilities assistance, a Neighborhood Nurse Center in partnership with Penrose-St. Francis Health Services, post-secondary education assistance, youth enrichment endeavors, self-sufficiency programs (such as "Getting Ahead" and "Individual Self-Sufficiency Plan"), and so much more.
In 2018, Tri-Lakes Cares was named "Nonprofit of the Year" by the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce, achieving that honor also In 2010 & 2012. Since 2016, TLC has consistently earned the "Platinum" status. We have also been distinguished as a "Top-Rated Nonprofit" on greatnonprofits.com since 2013.
We are grateful that after more than three decades, TLC continues to provide vital, comprehensive human services to hundreds of families annually with a paid staff (11 staff members / 9.6 FTE) and approximately 200 committed volunteers.
"The financial assistance I have received (rent, utilities, oil change) has helped me so much just when I need it most. I live a little better because of TLC." Anonymous Client Comment, Survey, June 2018
"I am so very grateful for TLC. I've been able to put food on my table and get to work due to having my car repaired, as I live on limited funds. Also, they gave me the ability to provide a nice Thanksgiving and Christmas gifts for my kids." Anonymous Client Comment, Survey, January 2018
"I have been Volunteering at Tri-Lakes Care since 2010, everyone at T.L.C. are like family to me. When things would go wrong in my personal life, they would be there for me. I look forward to the days I volunteer to be with them and help our clients. Its like a home away from home." Anonymous Volunteer Comment, Greatnonprofits, February 2019