Lift-Up in Aspen, elsewhere gears up for busy holiday season
Whether it’s used skis or a can of corn, Lift-Up takes donations to provide to the area’s needier folks. Here the drop-off locations for the nonprofit.
When: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: 465 N. Mill St., No. 12
Contact: 970-544-2009 or email@example.com
When: Wednesdays and Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Basalt Community United Methodist Church, 167 Holland Hills Road
Contact: 970-279-1492 or firstname.lastname@example.org
When: Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Where: Third Street Center, 520 S. 3rd St., No. 35
Contact: 970-963-1778 or email@example.com
When: Tuesdays and Fridays, 10:30 a.m. to noon
Where: 1004 Grand Avenue
Contact: 970-945-2005 or firstname.lastname@example.org
When: Wednesdays and Fridays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: 126 N. 4th St.
Contact: 970-984-2115 or NCFP@liftup.org
When: Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Where: 201 E. 1st St.
Contact: 970-285-0221 or email@example.com
When: Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: 800 Railroad Avenue
Contact: 970-625-4888 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The nonprofit Lift-Up turns 35 next year, but before celebrating its anniversary, it has some work to do.
As the holiday seasons approach, the nonprofit is accepting winter sports equipment and clothing at its Aspen drop-off spot at 465 N. Mill St.
Also, registration for Lift-Up’s holiday food-basket program begins today and runs through Oct. 31. Those who sign up are provided one basket for both Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The food baskets are one of Lift-Up’s biggest endeavors each year. Last year, Lift-Up dispersed more than 1,700 holiday baskets through its coverage region, which includes the entire Roaring Fork Valley, as well as the areas surrounding New Castle, Parachute and Rifle.
“We want people to know that we are here and they just need to know how to reach us,” said Kimberly Loving, Lift-Up’s executive director, who is based in Rifle. “Nobody should go hungry.”
Pitkin County’s most recent poverty level was at 7 percent and Garfield County’s was 10.2 percent, compared with the national average of 13.5 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Lift-Up does not seek verification from its users to determine if they are eligible for its services, Loving said.
“Typically what I tell people is we serve the unemployed and the underemployed and the homeless residents in our community,” Loving said. “A lot of times people have unexpected medical bills, so those are types we serve. … And we actually serve people that are just traveling through and trying to get to their next destination.”
All that Lift-Up asks for is address verification unless the person is homeless, she said.
The typical users of the services in Aspen are single men, Loving said, adding there are no specific reasons why that profile fits Lift-Up’s most common client in the upper valley.
Rifle tends to attract the most demand for Lift-Up’s services, said Loving and Jody Wilson, who heads the organization’s board of directors.
“It’s just a mix of people,” Wilson said. “It’s not really one demographic. They are our neighbors throughout the valley. They could be families that have a lot of kids, but it’s an expensive place to live. They may already be working two or three jobs but can’t meet the demand.”
As the frigid air settles in, the demand for Lift-Up rises “when people are living paycheck to paycheck, especially in the winter months when your utility bills spike,” Wilson said.
The service, however, is provided year-round. Last year, Lift-Up served 42,873 people, according to marketing director Marni Mitchell. That included the delivery of 36,181 bags of groceries, 19,395 hot meals served, 202 vouchers to Lift-Up’s two thrift shops and 69 clients receiving medical prescriptions.
Lift-Up also has seven drop-off spots, table dinner locations in Rifle and Glenwood Springs and two mobile pantries.
The Aspen location, located in the complex next to the post office and across the street from the Clark’s Market shopping center, spans 1,000 square feet. Before that, Lift-Up had a 300-square-foot space in the same complex that was donated by the landlord. After receiving a $30,000 grant from Pitkin County, Lift-Up was able to expand its Aspen presence and now can work jointly from that spot with the Emergency Food Assistance Program and Commodity Supplemental Food Program, both of which are government programs.
If you want to make a donation, canned goods are accepted and such grains as oatmeal, crackers, pasta, cereal, rice and macaroni and cheese.
For more information, call 970-625-4496 or visit http://www.liftup.org.
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Kevin Warner started his career with the U.S. Forest Service as a wilderness ranger in 2001. Now he’s taking over the key position as Aspen-Sopris District Ranger.