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‘Busy, busy time’ for LIFT-UP

Greg Masse
Post Independent Staff

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Even as Thanksgiving food baskets were being delivered to needy folks across Garfield County, LIFT-UP Chairman Mike Powell was already busy preparing for Christmas.

By 11 a.m. Monday, Powell had already recorded four radio spots and he was overseeing the distribution of food to 1,250 families from Parachute to Carbondale.

“It’s a busy, busy time,” Powell said.



As Powell spoke of LIFT-UP’s holiday food, clothing and toy programs, his phone rang several times and people scurried in and out of the nonprofit organization’s main office near Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs.

Powell took over as director of the 22-year-old nonprofit organization earlier this year. LIFT-UP, which stands for Life Inter-Faith Team against Unemployment and Poverty, provides food and essential services to the homeless, unemployed and working poor.



“We give away lots of food,” Powell said. “Food distribution is our primary service. We do that year-round.”

But the organization is extra busy during the holidays.

“We have close to 1,250 families,” Powell said. “At three people per family, that’s at least 3,600 people.”

The Christmas program, he said, will be even bigger.

Each family that registers with LIFT-UP is eligible to receive three days worth of food up to three times per year, plus a food basket on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The organization also operates the Extended Table, a soup kitchen, five days a week at the First Methodist Church. In addition, it gives away clothing and household items, and helps people get to doctor appointments and job interviews by administering vouchers for gasoline.

But Powell said the organization can’t do everything.

People often ask Powell and his staff if they can get money for rent or utility bills, but the organization stops short of covering those types of expenses.

“It’s unfortunate because people ask us for help that we can’t provide and that hurts us,” he said.

LIFT-UP’s Extended Table program is “the epitome of volunteerism,” Powell said.

“Last year we served a little over 7,300 meals,” he said. “The volunteer groups take care of everything. It only costs us $500 a year to run it.”

LIFT-UP’s next programs include collecting money and food for the Christmas baskets and putting out “Angel Trees.”

The trees have colored cards that have information about a family. They’ll be located throughout the county at places like the Glenwood Springs Mall, grocery stores and other places. Whoever who takes a card from the tree shops for the family, assuring that even kids from the most destitute families can get presents on Christmas.

“We really are encouraging people to buy new toys” rather than donate used ones, Powell said.

To make a food, clothing, monetary or other type of donation to LIFT-UP, call the main office at 945-2005.

Contact Greg Masse: 945-8515, ext. 511

gmasse@postindependent.com


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