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 more than 33 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.
Continued growth is reflected when you look at our annual report for Fiscal Year 2016 (October 1, 2015 - September 30, 2016) where over 235,065 lbs of food and sundries were distributed through our seven food pantry programs; $23,246 in utilities assistance was provided; 126 households received holiday food bags for Thanksgiving; and, 136 households received holiday food bags for Christmas along with gifts to 276 children and 79 senior citizens (gifts valued at $42,288).
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 8 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 2010 & 2012 Tri-Lakes Cares was named "Nonprofit of the Year" by the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce. For the past several years we earned "Gold" status on GuideStar and in 2016 earned "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 FTE) and approximately 250 committed volunteers.
Tri-Lakes Cares was there to help me when no one else would! They helped me to stay in my house and get us back on our feet so we could be self sufficient again. Without TLC my family and I would have been on the streets. I can't thank them enough for what they have done and continue to do! Anonymous Client Review, 4/7/2017, greatnonprofits.com
Betty said, "I hold down two jobs to try and make it, and we are making it, but the food here that I can come and get certainly helps." She continues, saying, "Tri-Lakes Cares has always been there for us - whether it's help with glasses or with medication that's been desperately needed; or when it's to help me get on my feet when I first started without any food and they made sure that I had enough." Client (name changed to protect privacy), 11/2016
I'm a volunteer at Tri-Lakes Cares. Moving to Monument two years ago, I had no friends. I'm a senior citizen & volunteering at Tri-Lakes Cares has benefited me as much as the clients they serve. I look forward to interacting with the many clients every Monday. Their appreciation to the organization is heart warming & I enjoy helping them. Anonymous Volunteer Review, 3/23/2017, greatnonprofits.com