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Tri Lakes Cares

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Emergency Assistance, Human Services

Mission: Tri-Lakes Cares is a community-based, volunteer-supported, resource center whose purpose is to improve people’s lives through emergency assistance, self-sufficiency, and relief programs.

Results: From our beginnings as a small food pantry in 1984, we have grown to become a comprehensive human services agency serving the Tri-Lakes region of Colorado. While this region appears affluent, there are hidden pockets of poverty in which households must choose between putting food on the table or keeping the lights on, between getting medical care, clothing, and school supplies or paying the rent. Tri-Lakes Cares resolves these difficult questions by providing free access to basic human services to income-qualified residents of northern El Paso County (those earning 50% of area median income or less). Last fiscal year (October 2019 to September 2020), TLC provided services to 1,029 individuals living in 437 households, including 350 children, 144 senior citizens, 45 military (active duty, veterans and family members) and 188 individuals living with a disability. We provided the following services to our clients and the community: (1) 80 households (impacting 215 individuals) were helped with rent or mortgage payments to prevent families from becoming homeless. (2) Nearly 223,000 lbs of food and sundries were distributed to those who were hungry, including fresh produce, dairy products and other perishable items through various food pantry program (3) A total of 9,034 lbs of holiday food bags (Thanksgiving and Christmas) were distributed and 135 youth and 53 senior citizens received gifts through the Giving Tree program (5) 94 households (impacting 242 individuals) were helped to keep the lights and heat on, or received help with other utility payments like water bills (6) 375 school children (K-12) received grade-appropriate school supplies, valued at approximately $12,000 to help prepare them to learn in school

Target demographics: Low-income individuals and families earning up to 50% Area Median Income (AMI) in our service area, based on the zip code they reside. Federal standards consider 50% of AMI a “very low-income” standard.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 1,029 individuals living in 437 households, which included 350 children, 535 adults and 144 seniors.

Geographic areas served: Northern El Paso County, Colorado known as the Tri-Lakes area, north of Colorado Springs. The specific zip codes to which we provide services are 80132, 80133, 80840, 80921 and a large portion of 80908.

Programs: Food (Help Yourself Market, Snack Pack & Grab-and-Go programs for youth, Supplemental Groceries), Penrose-St. Francis Neighborhood Nurse Center with medical assistance program, financial assistance for rent (to prevent eviction), utilities (to keep lights and heat on), car repairs, transportation needs, and self-sufficiency programs including Getting Ahead classes, financial budgeting classes, post-secondary education or professional certification and childcare.

Community Stories

122 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Tri-Lakes Cares is a wonderful organization in the Tri-lakes region helping those in our community who find themselves in need. Tri-Lakes Cares offers emergency services, relief programs and encourages clients to move towards self-sufficiency. The staff and volunteers have a heart for service, community and helping others. We are grateful to Tri-Lakes Cares for everything they do for our community.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The people of the TRI Lakes area are a FAMILY......and family takes care of family.....I am a pantry volunteer that's bags groceries for clients and senior clients.....Extremely rewarding to be part of the TLC organization....Thanks to the supporting businesses and donors, PT/FT staff, all clients, and all volunteers........I highly recommend becoming a volunteer and become a part of our family.....

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered for Tri-Lakes Cares for about 4 years. The changes I have seen have been amazing. The help they provide for the Tri-Lakes community cannot be measured in money. I am humbled by the gratitude of our clients. On days when we don't have as many donations in the food area they still say "thank you for what you have"! The organization no only distributes edible food, but also advice, a shoulder to cry on & a hug & pat on the back when forward strides are made. It is an amazing organization & I leave my volunteer position every time with a feeling I have made a small difference.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our family used to donate regularly to Tri-Lakes Cares, and due to a sudden employment situation, our family became clients of the organization. We cannot say enough good things about TLC, as they provide such services to help families in crisis get by, such as providing school supplies for our children, food at Thanksgiving, food and gifts at Christmas, and supplemental food for the family, if necessary, throughout the year. There are two social workers employed there to help people locate other services in and around the community that they may need, and I believe they also provide assistance in finding jobs. Twice a week, TLC opens a food pantry with donated food from various businesses in the area, and clients can take whatever is available that day. Another food benefit available at TLC is the monthly "commodities", or various food packages provided by the federal government. Besides food assistance, there is assistance with utilities available, and TLC offers some kind of rent/mortgage assistance, as well. Last year, our family was fortunate enough to have TLC's volunteer staff figure our taxes for us, and that was definitely a big help. Furthermore, each year TLC offers a class to its clients who want to move forward with their lives and get back on their feet. I was able to get into the class this year. So far it's an excellent class, and I'm learning a lot. Our family is very grateful to have such a helpful organization available to us, and what's even better is that Tri-Lakes Cares serves our local community, keeping us from having to drive all the way down to Colorado Springs in order to participate in the services available. Finally, every member of the staff at Tri-Lakes Cares is extremely helpful, courteous, professional, friendly, kind, and, most importantly, compassionate. Tri-Lakes Cares is definitely a valuable asset in the greater Monument community.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

Tri Lakes Cares has been very helpful for us. They go beyond just being friendly. The people they have working there and the volunteers are so friendly. They are always friendly and don't make you feel like less of a person. They help anyway they can. If they don't have the answer, they refer you to someone who usually can.
When you are on limited income the senior bags they distribute and they low income bags are so very helpful.
They help with other groups for things people need like oil changes for your car.
They let you know about upcoming events that can help health wise or something for the family to do.
They are so stretched for helping so many. The people from the Black Forest Fire., and so many moving to this area. If they weren't up here a lot of people would have to go without.
The little food they can help with makes a huge difference.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

Putting “Care” in context – that is what Tri Lakes Cares is all about. It is life circumstances, unfortunate situations or life changing event when TLC can help. As our community continues to grow, so does the need for additional assistance. Hunger has many faces and poverty can fall on any of us. Tri Lakes Cares also wants to “bridge the gap” by providing self-sufficiency awareness. We are prepared through our programs to assist. We can’t do any of this without our staff, volunteers and donors. We have staff and volunteers that are there for the community to assist those that come through our doors. We do all of this with dignity and respect to be effective contributors and ambassadors of TLC! It is an honor to be part of the TLC family leading our mission that brings out the best in so many. Please come and learn about us by visiting our website or stopping by TLC or Hangers to Hutches. I hope you too will want to volunteer or make a donation, but most important, become part of our family that is made up from our community.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

Through community involvement, this organization provides much needed food, medical, housing and education services to those in need. The need could be in response to a short-term crisis or a reflection of just needing a little help to get by. They serve households, children, seniors and veterans. It is all done employing a "neighbor helping neighbor" attitude of kindness and without judgment. Clients repeatedly tell us that non-judgment combined with the level of care they receive is what sets Tri-Lakes Cares apart. I'm proud to be a member of the board and privileged to work with staff and volunteers that are professional and caring.

Previous Stories
2

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am currently serving as Treasurer for the Board of Directors. In that capacity, I have great insight into the financial health of this organization. Each dollar that is received is maximized in its return to Tri-Lakes Cares clients. Every effort is made to operate on a very tight administrative budget. The outreach by the staff to solicit donations of services for the clients helps reduce expenses that would have otherwise been incurred. Every transaction is made with full transparency. Rest assured that if you donate money or time to Tri-Lakes Cares, the Clients will receive the fullest benefit possible.
Before serving on the Board of Directors, I was familiar with this organization as a volunteer for 10 years for the program that provides holiday gifts for client children. It was this experience that propelled me to volunteer for the Board. Indeed, even though I serve on the board, I continue to volunteer for that holiday program. This is an organization that improves the lives of so many.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I began volunteering with Tri Lakes Cares when I moved here a year and a half ago. I thought they were a "food bank." I had no idea how much one organization, staffed with mostly volunteers, could accomplish in a community. I see their accomplishments, when students leave my school on Friday with a supply of nutritious snacks for the weekend. I see joy in a child's face when they pick up a "birthday bag" complete with toy and cake mix during their birthday month. I hear the thank yous of the adults who have been invited to self qualify for federal TEFAP program. I watch the volunteer help participants fill out paperwork for relief with their heating bills. They were there providing clothes and household goods for the victims of the Black Forest fires.
I could go on and on.
Tri Lakes Cares: Not just a food bank.

2

Client Served

Rating: 4

Tri- Lakes Cares is the most helpful organization in Monument to help people get on their feet and back on track. They have many useful resources for the community and actively help many people. I am very grateful for all their many services for this area.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

TLC touches our community in many amazing ways! People have been fed, families have received school supplies and students receive snacks. The Hangers resale shop effectively raises money from selling donations (clothes, furniture, housewares) to support the TLC programs.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I joined the board of TLC, after 19 years of non-profit executive experience with other organizations, because of its staff and volunteers, all selflessly dedicated to TLC's mission in the community.
Don MacIver

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Tri-Lakes Cares is an amazing organization....They truly take pride in helping members of the community to bridge out of poverty...It is about neighbors helping neighbors, and treating those who are less fortunate with dignity & respect, their team is priceless!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been a member of the board of directors for TLC for 4 1/2 years. During this time I have been able to witness the positive impact of our organization "first hand." Our current Strategic Plan focuses on two major goals: Nimbleness and Marketing. Nimbleness speaks to our ability as an organization to react to emergency situations and natural disasters such as; the Black Forest Fire of 2013. Marketing speaks to getting the word out about our organization and reaching out to people in the Tri-Lakes area that may need our services. The over arching goal of the organization is to provide services and educational opportunities to help our clients reach a level of self-sufficiency. I invite you to visit TLC and our thrift store "Hangers to Hutches" and see for yourself the wonderful resources that we have to offer individuals and families in need.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

The tri-lakes community is fortunate to have Tri-Lakes Cares working to support those in need. It takes a village, or in this case a community, to support and encourage each other in order to build a thriving community. I applaud all the volunteers who so warmly interact with clients. Your dedication is making a huge difference and is greatly appreciated.

Previous Stories
1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have seen the benefits this organization brings to the community. The hard working, dedicated volunteers are to be commended for their care and support of others. This amazing organization is changing the lives of hundreds of people. These dedicated volunteers encourage and support their community members and help them to be self-sufficient. Kudos to Tri-Lake Cares!

1 George V.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This amazing organization serves many needy clients throughout the area. Services include a food pantry, medical assistance, job assistance, cooking classes, tax preparation assistance for seniors and a superior thrift store. It is a critically important organization in the community, filling a need not available elsewhere in the area. My wife and I are proud to be volunteers at TriLakes Cares

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been privileged to volunteer at both Tri-Lakes Cares and Hangers to Hutches and, for a time, as a paid employee of Hangers to Hutches. After suffering a serious stroke in early 2013, part of my rehab and a great deal of my desire to return to "normal" came from my association with the wonderful people at both of these organizations. Their assistance and acceptance of my reduced abilities after the stroke have been wonderful and ongoing. I love volunteering at Hangers and am now able to do two 4-hour shifts each week. This gives me tremendous encouragement and satisfaction. So I thank Hangers & TLC for their continued care and understanding - and I am sure most all of their patrons, clients, employees & volunteers would say the same!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered for a few nonprofits, both national in scope and local. Tri-Lakes Cares and Hangers to Hutches are very well-run and quite responsive to the needs of both clients and volunteers. One of the things I love most about them is the full-circle involvement of the community and the way these organizations promote the overall health of the Monument area.

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is a well-run organization, staffed by competent, friendly and caring employees and volunteers. Some clients rely on TLC for regular sustenance; others come in for desperately-needed temporary help. This organization strengthens the community in so many different ways: helping folks in need, but also bringing people and groups together to gather donations, volunteer their services, and share resources.

1 Madeline7

Donor

Rating: 5

Tri-Lakes Cares is an excellent resource for the community. No only do they help people in a time of need, but they also provide resources for helping people learn how to fix their situation. They offer many resources all in one location so people can save time and resources. By providing relief and self sufficiency programs Tri-Lakes Cares is a one-stop agency resource center. The staff and volunteers truly care for people and the atmosphere is welcoming and free of judgement.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

When my Girl Scout troop wanted to make an impactful positive difference in our Tri-Lakes community, they selected to partner with Tri-Lakes Cares...our favorite non-profit right here in Monument. The folks at TLC were friendly and incredibly supportive of our girls in all phases of their project supporting the Emergency Rations program, and they walked away proud of their accomplishment, knowing their project will help our less fortunate neighbors for years and years to come. Thank you Tri-Lakes Cares for not only helping our neighbors, but showing young scouts that by sharing their time and effort, they CAN make a real difference right here in Monument!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am continually impressed by the programs and services Tri-Lakes Cares provides. For a small town of around 6000, this community pulls together, supporting not only its residents, but this organization with unwavering dedication. I absolutely love shopping at its thrift store, Hangers to Hutches. Knowing that every dime supports Tri-Lakes Cares makes it that much more enjoyable.

Review from Guidestar

1 John E. A.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Tri Lakes Cares has grown from a small "mom & pop" service to one that incorporates a community to help move our customers toward self-sufficiency. TLC involves its Staff, Board, Volunteers, and customers in providing a variety of helping services. I've been proud to be a part of TLC's growth for the past 6 years, watching it grow and, most importantly, seeing our customers grow.

Previous Stories
1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Tri Lakes Cares has continued to excel in the area of serving others, serving our community, and serving nearby communities. This place exists to serve others and its dedicated staff, volunteers, and Board epitomize what "giving" is all about. TLC constantly looks for ways to improve its' programs. During the past year TLC expanded its' boundaries and helped a neighboring community that experienced a devastating fire, and TLC did this while continuing to provide quality service to our local customers. There is a strong emphasis throughout TLC to help our customers move toward self-sufficiency, and this is gaining momentum. Overall the growth of TLC exists in the arena of finding ways to increase services to our community. Indeed, TLC is a Great Nonprofit!

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2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer at Tri Lakes Cares for almost a year, volunteering in the food pantry. What a great organization to work with and they provide such a variety of needed services to clients. It is a real joy to see the clients and their appreciation of the services and care that is provided.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was new to the area and was dropping off a food donation. Within minutes I knew this place was doing amazing things. I soon became a volunteer. I am astounded at how much help is provided from one little building, full of people with big hearts.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I knew that Tri-lakes Cares was in my community, but I didn't know exactly what they did or who they served and than I became unemployed. I found them on the internet and within a few hours I felt as though the weight had been lifted off my shoulders after months of struggling. They made me feel as if me and my family were their own personal priority. The many individuals who worked there treated me with dignity and empowered me to get thru this very difficult time. I and my neighbors often go to after hours yard sales now and collect what didn't sell to donate to Hangers. My way of giving back.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My wife and I wanted to help out in some way in our community. My wife had been to Tri-Lakes Cares with a younger couple to help them in a real time of struggle and told me that she really liked the way they cared. We decided to see about volunteering to help them in their ministry to the community. Last week we went to an orientation and were just amazed at all that they do for the community in so many ways. This evening we worked our first volunteer shift and we can now say that this organization does truly care. The other volunteers were cheerful and glad to do what they could for those who came in for help.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

A growing organization which truly cares for those in the community. It provides so many services. They help with food, clothing (thrift store), medical, insurance and various other services. They run very lean and rely on many volunteers to provide these services. Very kind and compassionate

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great and caring organization. Hundreds of volunteers serving the needs of hundreds of clients.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The staff and volunteers at Tri Lakes Cares genuinely care about the people (young and old) in this community. So many of us give of our time each week because we see firsthand the difference this organization makes and the quality way in which services are provided. Whether it is coming in to see a nurse, picking up groceries so their family can make it through the weekend, registering their kids to receive school supplies or a senior citizen picking up a bag of groceries that is specific to her needs.....we see the need and we see hope. I can't say enough about the staff and their commitment to provide these services and their vision for even more growth.

1 ChristineJ

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What a caring group of people! I came to Tri-Lakes Cares hoping to find a way to help out my new community, and I found the right place. Monument folks (and those from the surrounding area) who are struggling to make ends meet are not only provided with medical, food, clothing and financial assistance, but they're greeted with a smile and treated with respect. I am proud to be a part of it.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Tri lakes cares and hangers thrift store are 2 examples of well run non profit organizations in our community. The staff really care about the work they are doing for the community As a volunteer
it is a pleasure to work with such a hard working, honest and respectful group of people!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I work weekly packing Emergency Food and repairs/maintenance on the building. TLC provides excellent support to its clients and serves both volunteers and clients with dignity and respect.

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked for Tri-Lakes Cares for 13 tears as a Pantry worker and 7 years on the BOD. I also manage all building Repairs and upgrades. I have seen many, many clients and other volunteers come an go. All clients are treated with dignity and respect and serviced as best TLC can within the constraints of its resources.

The other volunteers I work with are totally dedicated to the TLC Mission. The staff of TLC is top notch and as professional a group as I have ever worked with and that includes 20 years in the Navy, and in professional life as a CEO and President.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

For more than 30 years Tri-Lakes Cares has been serving our community! As a volunteer-supported resource center, TLC provides emergency, relief and self-sufficiency programs in a caring and upbeat manner. It is an honor to support such a fine nonprofit!!

Previous Stories
1

Board Member

Rating: 5

As both a long-time volunteer and Board Member it has been my privilege to serve our community through Tri-Lakes Cares. My volunteer position often allows me to greet our clients, hear some of their needs and gradually watch how their lives have changed through the help we provide. Our staff is second to none and our community underpins all efforts with its support.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Tri-Lakes Cares is a wonderful organization that has made an amazing impact on the greater Monument community. Their free clinic is a wonderful resource that fills a large gap in the community. The schedule for the clinic is usually full, which shows that the clinic is being well used and providing a valuable resource for Tri-Lakes Cares. The Blood Drives and Shot Clincs are also valuable resources provided to the community. The staff and volunteers are wonderful at Tri-Lakes Cares and are making a difference in our community.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

TRI - LAKES CARES ISA WONDERFUL ORGANIZATION. THEY HAVE HELPED MANY FAMILIES AS WELL AS ITS SENIORS. THEY HELP WITH RENT, MEDICAL UTILITY BILLS AND FOOD IF NEEDED. THEY HAVE EVEN HELPED MYSELF WITH AUTO REPAIRS. WITH REFERRALS FOR DENTAL AND EYEGLASSES.THEY HAVE ALSO HELPED WITH GAS VOUCHERS. THEY ARE VERY FRIENDLY, COURTEOUS, AND ALWAYS WILLING TO ASSIST IN ANYTHING THAT THEY CAN . I AS WELL AS MANY OTHERS WOULD BE LOST WITHOUT THEIR ASSISTANCE THEY PROVIDE IN THIS SMALL COMMUNITY. MANY THANKS TO TRI LAKE CARES.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Since being a volunteer at Tri Lake Cares, I have been very impressed with the focus on the clients and the efficiency of the organization. They have recruited an amazing group of volunteers who are all committed to the Tri Lakes Cares mission and the clients. Activities such as periodic client appreciation days with free BBQ, popcorn, snow cones, and gifts are very well received by all the clients. Monthly volunteer get to get are also a great way for all volunteers to meet each other outside the TLC volunteer environment.

1 Ross6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The dedicated and caring staff, assisted by over 200 volunteers, works tirelessly to assist those in need. The organization's overhead rate of 8.4% demonstrates the staff's outstanding stewardship of its budget, a budget derived from grants, donations, and proceeds from its thrift shop. Following the devastating 2013 Black Forest fire, nearly 200 families received over $200,000 worth of both financial and in-kind services. Hangers, TLC's Thrift Store, provided over $34,000 worth of clothing and household goods. With no other service providers in Northern El Paso County that provide the breadth of services that TLC offers, the organization plays an important role in helping its community members who are in need as well as guiding them to self-sufficiency.

Deb_26

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Having volunteered at Tri-Lakes Cares for about 2 years by manning the front desk, I can say without a doubt that this organization really does care about our community. 92 cents of every dollar goes directly to helping our clients.

1 Sylvia8

Client Served

Rating: 5

Since my divorce, I have periodically found my kids and myself in some tough spots, but Tri-Lakes Cares has always come through for us in many ways. Their volunteers are amazing, and I don't know what we would do without them. It's such a relief knowing they are there if we need them and we so appreciate everything they've done for us.