Give!: Tri-Lakes Cares provides more than just food to struggling families

Tri-Lakes Cares
Tri-Lakes Cares provides a variety of support to families and clients who are struggling for one reason or another / Ray Harless -- FOX21 News

MONUMENT, Colo. — Tri-Lakes Cares is the only food pantry and human services agency serving those in need in northern El Paso County.

The agency provides food, financial assistance for housing and utilities and help with medical and prescription needs. It also helps people move out of poverty, through education.

Northern El Paso County may be known as an affluent area but poverty knows no boundaries and can hit anywhere and at any time.

Tri-Lakes Cares focuses on providing support to those in Monument, Palmer Lake and Woodmoor, who might not otherwise be able to get any help.

“I think that people don’t understand that poverty effects people from every walk of life, educated people, people with houses,” said Kiley Jones. “People kind of see it as the family that lives in the trailer in the trailer park with grungy clothing, they don’t understand that poverty can hit anyone.”

After Jones gave birth to twin boys, money got really tight. After struggling for more than a year and a half, Jones decided to find help.

“We make just too much to be able to fit under SNAP benefits or any other assistance programs,” said Jones.

The one place she could find help was Tri-Lakes Cares.

“The biggest thing I take part in is the supplemental grocery program,” said Jones. “Once a month my family can come in and we request things that we need, whether it’s meat or pasta or cans of beans, all the stuff that maybe people would donate at a canned food drive, and then we get a big load of groceries to help us save that money towards other items in our household, other bills that we might need to pay.”

Jones said without this resource available locally her family would be struggling.

“It would be difficult to find Christmas gifts for my children, or clothing for my children who are growing every day,” she said.

But Tri-Lakes Cares offers more than just food. They provide assistance in a variety of ways to families that for one reason or another are struggling.

“It could be the primary breadwinner had a medical issues and all of the sudden is no longer able to work, it could be somebody was laid off,” said Haley Chapin, Executive Director of Tri-Lakes Cares.

“We try to be a one stop shop for residents of the north end of El Paso County and we provide a bunch of different services. Our mission statement focuses on three: emergency, relief and self-sufficiency,” she added.

Whatever the cause for the struggle, the goal remains the same – helping people get back on their feet.

“We want to make sure basic needs are met, a roof over their head, clothes on their back, food on the table,” said Chapin. “We also have relief programs that are not going to make or break someone, just offer a little bit of normalcy to a family, a little relief where they can just take a sigh. Those would be things like school supplies, gifts under the tree, holiday programs. And then we have self sufficiency programs where we actually work with clients who are interested in moving out of poverty into self sufficiency.”

Chapin said none of these programs would be possible without community support.

“It’s extremely important for us to convey our message to the community of how they help to make our clients lives better,” said Chapin.

“Even though you might not know it, you are helping families like mine every day and we do appreciate it,” said Jones.

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