LIFT-UP taps new executive director | PostIndependent.com

LIFT-UP taps new executive director

Angela Mills, new Executive Director of LIFTUP, is looking forward to leading the non-profit based in Rifle as the organization helps those in need in Garfield County.

LIFT-UP is moving forward with new Executive Director Angela Mills at the helm, as the nonprofit organization looks to continue, build and improve its services helping families in need across the Roaring Fork Valley and Garfield County.

"What attracted me to this position is the ability to really dig into the communities, to build relationships and get to know people and to make positive change," Mills said of her new position.

Mills moved to the Western Slope last year and previously headed the Glenwood Springs Post Independent and Citizen Telegram advertising team before joining LIFT-UP late last month.

While the PI team was sad to see her go, she found a perfect home at LIFT-UP as she continues to look to make a positive change in her community.

She and her husband, Kyle Mills, who reside in Silt, are in the process of adopting two teenagers. Angela Mills said her daughters absolutely influenced her decision to join the nonprofit organization.

"We have been in the process of adopting the girls out of the foster program," Mills explained. "They, in their young lives, know what it is like to be hungry and have benefitted from programs like Meal Monkey."

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LIFT-UP (Life Interfaith Team on Unemployment and Poverty) operates seven food pantries from Parachute to Aspen, two thrift shops in Rifle and Parachute, two Extended Table meal locations in Rifle and Glenwood Springs, and the Meal Monkey lunch delivery program for school-aged children.

In 2017, 22,349 clients received 48,092 bags of groceries from LIFT-UP; 1,959 families received Thanksgiving and Christmas food boxes; and 15,706 hot meals were served at Extended Table soup kitchens, according to the organization's website.

Meal Monkey provides lunches to students on free or reduced lunches on Fridays, when Garfield Re-2 schools are out of session. The program continues to receive recognition locally and statewide.

Mills said she looks forward to helping the western Garfield County program grow under her leadership.

"We are very excited about our new executive director," LIFT-UP Board President Jody Wilson said.

She said the transition to finding a long-term executive director for LIFT-UP has been a difficult one after longtime director Kim Loving gave notice in mid-2017.

Wilson said they found the perfect fit with longtime United Way director Amy Barr last fall. However, her health became an issue soon after joining the organization and she died within six months of joining the team.

"We are excited about the future and I'm looking forward to seeing what LIFT-UP will be six months from now," Wilson said.

Longtime nonprofits director and consultant Debbie Wilde of Glenwood Springs has served as the interim executive director for LIFT-UP. She will stay on for the next six months to help get Mills up to speed.

Wilde said the board and volunteers have done an excellent job of taking care of things during this transition.

"Organizations have to stop and review and it's just been going, going, going for LIFT-UP these past several months," Wilde explained. "It's great that we haven't skipped a beat in delivering services, but it's important to know if we are doing the best we can."

Mills said that among her early goals is to get to know her staff and hear what suggested changes they foresee. She looks forward to spending time at each location in the next six months and being out in the community and educating the valley on everything LIFT-UP does.

"I'm looking forward to stabilizing the organization, recruiting volunteers, fundraising and continuing to provide a 12-month-a-year food source," she said. "Hunger is not seasonal."

azorn@citizentelegram.com

What Lift-up does

• Food assistance, up to 12 visits (once per month) per year, per household.

• Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday baskets – one food basket per holiday, per household. Sign up is Oct. 22 – Nov. 2. Must show proof of address to sign up.

• USDA Commodities Government food assistance program, distributed once monthly; residency in county and income verified to qualify.

• Thrift store clothing voucher (three sets of clothes), two times a year; household voucher one time a year.

• Prescriptions up to $100 – two visits per year, per person

• Bus passes available only for verifiable job interviews or medical appointments, one time per year, per family

• Emergency services as needed.

Source: LIFT-UP website