Grantee Spotlight: Lyons Emergency Assistance Fund

“We’ve seen a huge surge in demand since COVID-19 entered our world,” says Lory Barton, Executive Director of the Lyons Emergency Assistance Fund (LEAF), a grantee of your Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund Boulder County. LEAF offers a human services safety net for people in need in the Greater Lyons area.

“Due to the nature of life in our local mountain communities, the people we serve have been disproportionately affected by this crisis,” continues Lory. “In addition to serving increased numbers of people, we have found it necessary to expand and adjust our services, too. 
“LEAF operates two food programs – a weekly Food Pantry and Lyons Meals on Wheels. We've made dramatic adjustments to both of these programs in order to meet growing needs, and to keep participants and volunteers safe.” 
Indeed, according to Lory, the number of households served by the weekly Food Pantry has doubled. “We’ve extended our hours and pivoted to a curbside pick-up distribution model,” she says. “To prevent risk to our volunteers and clients, we’re also limiting the number of volunteers and practicing all recommended health guidelines.” 
Lory further notes that it’s been challenging to access enough food from LEAF’s usual suppliers. “Our Food Pantry leaders have gone above and beyond to find and purchase food so we can feed folks in the Greater Lyons area,” she explains. “In addition to pre-packaged boxes of food, we also provide milk, eggs, fresh produce … and the choice type of bread and meat. 
“I'm so proud of our Food Pantry team for the way they’ve risen to meet these unprecedented challenges – the Community Foundation’s support has empowered us to find and purchase food so people can eat. We’re so grateful for this partnership.”
LEAF’s Meals on Wheels program has transitioned from a daily, home-delivered fresh meal model to providing five frozen meals prepared by local restaurants, delivered once a week.
“Given that Meals on Wheels clients tend to be the most isolated of all the people we serve, our team grew concerned that smaller meals and fewer deliveries might not be enough for our clients,” says Lory. “To provide enough food and well-being checks – if only from the front porch, for now – we started delivering supplemental boxes of food each week to Meals on Wheels clients.” 
These boxes include bread, milk, eggs, produce, and shelf-stable, nutritious snacks. 
“As with LEAF's Food Pantry team, our all-volunteer Meals on Wheels team has truly stepped up to take care of the most vulnerable members of our community,” adds Lory. “The Community Foundation’s support has helped make this vital effort possible.” 
LEAF offers a Basic Needs grant program, too. “We've seen a 700% increase in the number of households seeking help, and a 1000% increase [you read that right!] in the level of support requested,” notes Lory. “We’re working hard to quickly design and implement best-practices solutions to help people remain independent and in their homes. 
“We are so grateful for financial partners like Community Foundation Boulder County and Lyons Community Foundation that are working tirelessly to help us meet needs in the best and most appropriate ways.” 
Thanks to such community collaborations and support, LEAF announced a 13,333% increase [you read that right!] in its Basic Needs grant funding for the next three months. “This fund will help LEAF help people,” says Lory. “As the only human services agency serving exclusively in the Greater Lyons area, it's imperative that LEAF is positioned to serve well during this crisis.”
The Lyons Community Foundation has launched this emergency response fund to address the economic crisis affecting Lyons businesses due to the COVID19 pandemic. In coordination with the St. Vrain Market, the “Lyons Share” fund is designed to provide immediate economic aid to local small businesses.