From March 1 through April 30, LIFT-UP is participating in the Feinstein Foundation’s 17th annual Challenge to Fight Hunger, which offers $1 million to be divided proportionally among qualified hunger relief agencies nationwide, based on the amount of food and money they collect during the two-month period.
Last year more than $211 million was raised by 1,857 hunger-fighting agencies. During the previous 16 years, the annual campaign has generated more than $2 billion in giving.
According to Shawn Allen Feinstein, whose foundation spearheads the national campaign, “This has become the greatest grass roots campaign ever to fight hunger in our country.”
Feinstein’s primary reason for this annual challenge is to raise awareness about hunger in America, and to encourage people to support the local organizations that are tackling this widespread problem. He leverages his $1 million to generate more than $200 million in donations, an impressive return on investment. The Feinstein Foundation values food at $1 per pound for the purposes of the campaign totals.
As an added incentive this year, the locally managed Stone Foundation has offered an additional $10,000 in matching funds for the first $10,000 that LIFT-UP raises from this campaign through April 30, a dollar-for-dollar match.
LIFT-UP’s services are offered year-round, and they are serving between 2,000 and 2,500 people per month from their seven area food pantries. More than 1,600 meals per month are served from LIFT-UP’s Extended Tables, which operate in Rifle and Glenwood Springs.
Despite gradual improvement in both the national and local economies, last year LIFT-UP saw an increase in nearly all of its services over 2012. They served 48,961 people (one or more times), up 12.7 percent; they distributed 52,654 bags of food, up 5 percent; and The Extended Table served 1,609 meals, an increase of 11.5 percent. In January 2014, all of these categories of assistance exceeded the monthly averages for last year.
LIFT-UP is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing humanitarian assistance in the communities it serves, with seven area food pantries from Parachute to Aspen, thrift stores in Rifle and Parachute, and The Extended Table, which serves evening meals in Glenwood Springs and Rifle.
Founded in 1982, LIFT-UP is now in its 32nd year of operation, and is made possible through generous support from the local community.