LIFT-UP can use a little help |

LIFT-UP can use a little help

Heidi Rice
Citizen Telegram
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Volunteer, LIFT-UP

RIFLE, Colorado – Residents around the county are being asked to help out with donations of food, money or volunteer time to help out LIFT-UP, which is seeing a dramatic increase in requests for services in its food pantries and the Extended Table soup kitchen.

In Rifle, the requests have more than doubled between January through April in 2009 over the same period in 2008. The town of Parachute numbers have quadrupled.

“This is a direct effect from the downtown in the economy,” said Mike Powell, executive director of LIFT-UP of Garfield County. “Our resources are declining, but we’re trying not to turn anyone away.”

Last week, LIFT-UP sent out an impassioned letter to residents around the county asking for assistance.

“Most businesses would be please to see their numbers up during a weak economy,” the letter reads. “But when your business is feeding the neediest members of the community, it is cause for concern.”

Powell acknowledged that it was unusual for LIFT-UP to ask for help at this time of the year – typically its during the holiday season at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Jeffrene Fowler, longtime services manager at the Rifle food pantry says she is seeing people who are unemployed or who have recently moved here.

“We’ve been way up since January,” Fowler said. “Rifle alone did more than the whole county did in January.”

And while times are tough for everyone, county residents are reaching into their pockets.

“Donations are up – people are being generous,” Powell said. “We may not be able to fix the economy, but we can make sure that families in our region have food to eat until economic conditions improve. Even a small donation will mean a lot for those who are hurting now. And 100 percent of your donation will stay right here in the local community to help our neighbors in need. Please help if you are able to do so.”

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