Habitat is accepting applications for new homes in Lyons. Applicants must have been displaced by the flood; application deadline is January 13th
Thanks to hundreds of community members and organizations, the holidays were filled with hope for local families in need this year. Numerous efforts came together to make a big difference including local food drives, holiday giving baskets, and LEAF’s new program, the Holiday Giving Tree.
The new LEAF Giving Tree program helped 88 people in the Greater Lyons area have brighter holidays, thanks to the donations of skateboards, blouses, toys, books, winter boots, and other gifts piled high at Lyons Community Church.
The inaugural LEAF Giving Tree program wrapped up a successful effort on December 11, delivering hundreds of gifts directly to recipient’s homes. “The compassion and generosity of the people in our community to make the LEAF Giving Tree a success is truly astounding,” said Pam Browning, Chair of the LEAF Board of Directors.
Clients of LEAF’s three programs (Lyons Community Food Pantry, Lyons Meals on Wheels, and Individual and Family Advocacy) were offered the opportunity to fill out forms listing up the three wishes valued at $25 or less. Wishes came pouring in, from single mothers trying to make ends meet, to elderly who were thrilled at the idea of getting a new blouse, to hard working families needing some warm boots and clothes.
Wishes were then listed on handmade ornaments and hung on trees at three locations in town, the Stone Cup, the Barking Dog, and the Lyons Regional Library. “We hung up 88 ornaments just after Thanksgiving, and within a week they had all been chosen. We weren’t sure if we were going to end up with a bunch of ornaments left over at the end. We are so grateful for everyone who picked one!” notes Amy Ogilvie, LEAF Giving Tree volunteer.
LEAF created a giving tree program in response to numerous requests to adopt local families in need from community members during the holidays last year. A group of volunteers, spearheaded by Executive Director Emily Dusel, came together and worked diligently to make the first year a success. Volunteers included Anne Haakenson, Andrea Buus, Abby Wynja, Amy Ogilvie, and Zana Ganzel. “I am so thankful for the opportunity to help those in need during the holiday season. I feels so good to give back,” stated volunteer Zana Ganzel.
The spirit of giving was exceptional in Lyons this year. In addition to the outpouring of support for the LEAF Giving Tree program, the Lyons Middle School Student Council held their annual food drive for the food pantry in November, donating over 800 pounds of food. The Lyons Elementary School PTO held a food drive in December, donating over 2,500 items to the Holiday Food Basket Program and to the food pantry. The High Street Concert Series and Western Stars held food drives as well. And this year the “Sock it to Um” campaign led by John O’Brien delivered hundreds of new socks to LEAF clients. And finally, the annual Holiday Basket program, a collaboration between Higher Ground Ministries, LEAF, the Boulder County Sheriff, and the Lyons Elementary PTO, distributed food baskets loaded with hams, potatoes, fresh fruit, canned goods, and more, to 35 families on December 15th.
The spirit of giving is alive and well in Lyons! Thanks to everyone in our community who helped make the holidays a little brighter for those who need a little extra help this holiday season.
Tis the season of giving! In the spirit of the season, LEAF is offering it's first annual Holiday Giving Tree program.
We greatly appreciate your generosity as we work to bring smiles to local families in need.
WHEN: Starting Saturday, November 26th and ending Friday, December 9th
WHERE: You will be able to pick an anonymous ornament off our giving trees located at the Stone Cup, the Barking Dog, and the Lyons Library.
WHAT TO DO: All gifts should be delivered, wrapped, with the ornament attached, to Lyons Community Church at 350 Main Street during the designated drop off times of:
Happy Holidays from all of us at LEAF!
The Wild Rumpus sure was wild! The biggest adults only Halloween Party in Lyons’ history, Rave to the Grave, was held on Friday October 28th at the Wildflower Pavilion at Planet Bluegrass. The party was a benefit for Lyons Emergency Assistance Fund (LEAF).
“We are so thankful to all of the artists, musicians, party-goers, donors, clients, sponsors, and volunteers for making Rave to the Grave a huge success raising over $22,000! The money raised for LEAF will directly benefit our friends and neighbors in need,” says Tanya Daty, a LEAF board member.
Rave to the Grave is a benefit for LEAF, whose mission is to offer a human services safety net to those in need in the Greater Lyons area. This year, partygoers had an opportunity to experience a visual tour of LEAF created by Peggy Dyer before entering the Wildflower Pavilion. Powerful photos lined the walls with clients, staff, and volunteers of LEAF sharing messages such as “Thank you LEAF, for feeding us”, “Everyone struggles sometimes”, and “I am a part of a community that cares”.
The music by Arthur Lee Land and gogoLab with special guests Jesse Garland, Brian Schey, and Elephant Revival's Daniel Rodriguez and Bonnie Paine was truly out of this world! Along with a video DJ show by Needmore productions, wild costumes, lots of dancing, great food and drink, and fun booths, this party was epic. Congratulations to Bob and Janet Wood for winning the costume contest as the twins from The Shining.
Local artist Kahlie Sue Pinello took the lead on artistic vision and decorations along with her team of Wendy Miller and Jacob Leeuwenburgh and wow did they deliver! From blood lining the walls, to creepy themed booths, this team blew it out of the water!
Planet Bluegrass donated the venue, staff time, and proceeds from alcohol sales directly to LEAF. This event would not have been possible without their generosity. Thank you to Craig Ferguson and all of the planet staffers that helped! Rave to the Grave sponsors covered all of the hard costs of the event, allowing every dollar raised that night to go directly to LEAF’s programs. Thank you to band sponsor Oskar Blues, premier sponsors Headquarters Cannabis Company, S2O Design, Wink Optical and Bud Depot, contributing sponsors Independent Power Systems, Laura Levy Colorado Real Estate, Smokin’ Daves, Lyons Sandstone, and LeGault Construction, and the thirteen additional supporting and in-kind sponsors! And finally, thanks to Ax & Oar for providing delicious food!
LEAF serves over 100 people every week with programs including the Lyons Community Food Pantry, Individual and Family Advocacy, Flood Recovery, and Lyons Meals on Wheels. The fundraiser raised about 20% of their annual operating budget.
By Emily Dusel
LYONS - Toni St. John, a volunteer delivery driver for the Meals on Wheels program at Lyons Golden Gang, was devastated to hear that the program would be closing soon. “I feel that seniors are such an underserved part of the population. Everyone assumes that elders have someone looking out for them, but many of them don’t. I feel we need to provide for their basic needs the way we do for other segments of the population” said St. John. With the program on the brink of closing, many around town are desperately trying to find a solution.
“The Human Services and Aging Commission and LEAF have been aware of the upcoming closure for quite a while. We are all working hard to come up with a solution. The big question is what do we do next? How do we save Meals on Wheels in Lyons?” said Ellen Hine, a member of the LEAF board.
All options were explored, Boulder County Aging Services, Longmont Meals on Wheels, the Town of Lyons, and LEAF all tried to find a way to take on the program. But until now, the pieces of the puzzle just weren’t fitting together. By volunteering her time as a leader of the program, St. John saved the day. “I knew that if I didn’t step up it would go away. My motivation in stepping forward was that this program, although small, is of such great value to the community.”
After an impassioned plea from St. John at a recent LEAF board meeting, and a long well thought out discussion about LEAF taking on the program, the board decided to do a 1-year pilot program of Meals On Wheels.
The LEAF board is wary of taking on a new program when fundraising has been difficult this year. “LEAF needs to see an increase in financial support from our community in order to remain sustainable. Taking on the Meals on Wheels program is a risk for LEAF, and that’s why we decided on a pilot year” noted Susan McCann, LEAF board member.
The pilot year will run from October 1, 2016 to October 1, 2017. LEAF will operate the program of Meals on Wheels with Toni St. John as the volunteer manager. Meal delivery will continue to operate Tuesdays – Fridays to seniors and people with disabilities. Currently, six individuals receive Meals on Wheels in the Lyons area. LEAF is making a 1 year commitment to see what actual costs, growth, and time are involved. LEAF plans to keep the overhead as low as possible by harnessing the compassion of volunteers like Toni St. John.
As stated by Meals on Wheels America “For millions of Americans, Meals on Wheels is literally the difference between remaining in their own homes and needing to relocate to a nursing facility. The nutritious meal, friendly visit and safety check help them cope with three of the biggest threats of aging: hunger, isolation and loss of independence. Research proves that when seniors have the right support, they gain greater quality of life, need fewer hospital stays and live longer.”
The Lyons Meals on Wheels program, and LEAF as a whole, receive no federal or state funding and rely heavily on financial contributions from donors such as you. Simple monetary contributions, online (click here) or through the mail (PO Box 324), various types of planned giving, in kind gifts of goods and services, etc. are but a few of the ways in which you can play a part in furthering LEAF’s work in the community.
"This is a very exciting venture in reaching out again to a population in need in our community,” said Pam Browning, chair of LEAF. “I'm very proud of our organization for taking this risk and trying to help with something our town was about to lose."
We are so excited to share photos a recent photo shoot at LEAF in which we welcomed Peggy Dyer and her One Million Faces Project. LEAF staff, clients, and volunteers all signed waivers and happily shared their messages to the world for LEAF. The messages really tell the story, here are just a few:
“We are a part of a community that cares"
“LEAF saves people’s lives”
“It takes a village”
“Everyone struggles sometimes”
“No one should go hungry in Lyons”
By Janaki Jane - Direct Services Advocate
There is a benefit to our work as the Direct Services Advocate at LEAF that has nothing to do with the things we usually think of as benefits of hard work. This benefit is the gratitude that comes pouring in our direction, just for doing our jobs. Here are a few of the written thanks we’ve gotten recently: “Thank goodness for you and
LEAF!” “Thanks so much and see you then.” “Yay, thank you!” Every week we get repeated thanks, and some hugs, from people who come to LEAF. They often say “I didn’t know I could get help with this too”.
In the last three weeks, the Direct Services providers at LEAF have met with over forty people. We have helped a number of people with Medicaid and health insurance issues. There have been people still struggling with the impacts of the flood on their lives. Residents who are working through a difficult financial decision have come to have a second set of eyes on the problem. Gas vouchers, bankruptcy, Medicare questions, Food Stamps, social security disability insurance questions, folks needing help to pay rent, utilities, or transportation needs. Case managers and advocates from the OUR Center, from Healthy Kids and Adults, Health Care Navigators, Housing and Financial Counselors, are all available at LEAF to assist with finding out about veterans' benefits, Family Self Sufficiency programs, Temporary Rental Assistance programs, and much, much, more.
Every one of the people the Direct Services providers serve says “thank you.” It can be hard to ask for help, and it can be harder still to accept it graciously. Every week everyone who works or volunteers at LEAF gets to witness gracious acceptance. It is a benefit to the work that is beyond price.
LEAF provides resources and assistance to strengthen and support families and individuals toward financial stability and greater community. We are open for resource referral and case management every Wednesday from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Lyons Community Church at 350 Main Street; come up the steps to the main entrance of the church. LEAF’s Lyons Community Food Pantry is downstairs every Wednesday from 3:30 to 5 p.m. To find out more about LEAF, go to www.leaflyons.org, search for LEAF, Lyons on Facebook, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and (720) 864-4309.
See the article on the Lyons Recorder website:
The Kinders took a field trip to the Food Pantry on Monday where they donated 50 pounds of kids snacks and packed 25 snack bags for the pantry. Thank you kinders, parents and teachers!
by Janaki Jane, Direct Services Advocate, LEAF
Every Wednesday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., LEAF takes over the little white church on Main Street and offers lots of different services to residents who live in the greater Lyons area. LEAF has a big service area: it serves folks from Raymond/Riverside, and Pinewood Springs, all the way into Lyons on either side of both highways, whether they live off the grid, up Red Gulch, or on Blue Mountain—which means we serve some folks in Larimer County. We also serve out Highway 66, and into Hygiene. Anyone who lives in that large area is eligible to come to LEAF for services.
LEAF’s mission is to provide a human services safety net for those in need in the greater Lyons area. We envision a world where our friends and neighbors are cared for in their time of need, and we are working hard to bring that vision to light here in Lyons. We provide a safe, accessible place for individuals and families to connect with comprehensive, coordinated services that help them strengthen their households and become more self-reliant.
In order to support this self-reliance, people need to come to LEAF themselves. Once they do, we don’t share that they came in with anyone. No-one who sees you come through the door knows whether you came in to LEAF to donate a check, or to get a resource referral, or to take advantage of our services.
Those services are for everyone. There is no income limit. Everyone is invited to come in and talk to the resource people and case managers at LEAF. For instance, professional, unbiased Housing & Financial Counselors come monthly to assist anyone—whether you have enough money to be buying your third rental property or are trying to make your social security check last the month. Our case managers have supported people while they filled out grant applications, bankruptcy paperwork, called pension plans, and dealt with the phone company.
Special technicians come in a couple times a month who can sign people up for food stamps, Medicaid, and facilitate applying for direct cash assistance. Direct cash assistance comes from the county, and includes Old Age Pension, Assistance and Disability, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. These technicians will now be available by appointment on several Wednesdays a month, and meet with residents on other days. Appointments are made through LEAF. In the fall, there will be health care navigators available to help with signing up on the Connect for Health Colorado website. All of these services are provided in both English and Spanish.
LEAF also offers emergency basic needs funding assistance. Everyone struggles sometimes. Whether it’s illness, job loss, disaster, disabilities, or unexpected emergencies: people find themselves stuck. LEAF currently partners with eight outside organizations to get funding for local residents, too. Through these partnerships, LEAF can facilitate and/or apply for significantly more financial assistance than it would be able for us to provide on our own.
And, of course, our wonderful, volunteer-run Lyons Community Food Pantry serves about 200 locals a month. The Food Pantry offers high quality food to anyone who can’t save 10% of their income. This enables them to save for emergencies, and perhaps not need to come to LEAF for other help.
LEAF is open for walk-ins and appointments every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Lyons Community Food Pantry is open every Wednesday from 3:30-5 p.m. Call 720-864-4309, or email us at email@example.com to make an appointment, and go to our website at leaflyons.org or to our Facebook page LEAF to find out more.