LiftUp receives special gift this holiday season
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — LiftUp of Routt County received an early present this holiday season when Steamboat Christian Center and Alpine Bank partnered up to pay off the remainder of the nonprofit’s mortgage.
LiftUp Executive Director Sue Fegelein said the organization was shocked and grateful for the $130,000 gift.
“It’s amazing,” she said. “This debt being paid off will free up an additional $3,000 per month to help LiftUp serve our community. The ability to focus incoming funds on our mission rather than our debt is an incredible opportunity for LiftUp, as well as for our neighbors in need.”
It was youth pastor Jeff Sublett who originally came up with the idea of a “stimulus package” to help community members this holiday season. The church chose to focus on three areas: helping people who were struggling to pay their rent this month, helping people who couldn’t afford to buy Christmas gifts for their children and helping a local organization that is doing good in the community in order to provide maximum impact.
Pastor Troy Lewis, who is on the board of LiftUp, remembered a budget meeting this fall when he learned that the organization still had $130,000 left on its mortgage. Steamboat Christian Center offered a matching $65,000 donation to any donations raised by parishioners and together, the church was able to raise $116,000 in just three weeks.
“This was all them,” Lewis said, of his church community. “They are amazingly generous.”
When Alpine Bank, who owns the mortgage, learned of the church’s efforts, it offered to partner with Steamboat Christian Center to provide the remaining $14,000.
Alpine Bank President Adonna Allen joined Lewis to present the check to LiftUp on Dec. 18.
“Now that LiftUp no longer has a monthly loan payment, that money can go directly into helping those they serve,” Allen said. “To think that one congregation was able to come up with that amount of money really speaks to what an amazing community we have. Alpine Bank was thrilled to help out and be a part of this.”
In 2021, LiftUp will celebrate its 25th anniversary. Fegelein describes the level of need presented to LiftUp by community members since COVID-19 as being unlike anything the organization has experienced in its 25 years.
She said, since March, LiftUp case managers have worked on 371 requests for emergency financial assistance, totaling $265,250. In December, there were 65 such requests totaling just over $50,000, and the food banks have seen 4,883 shoppers through November.
“No one knows how COVID will impact Routt County in 2021, particularly in the first quarter,” Fegelein said. “This funding, along with the additional, generous donations that we have received this year, will help ensure that LiftUp can serve the needs that our community members face as we head into 2021.”
Lewis describes 2020 as a “perfect stream of hopelessness.”
Between people out of work, those who can’t celebrate the holidays with their families and those who can’t afford to pay rent or bills, Steamboat Christian Center’s mission was simply to help.
“It’s pretty obvious that there are a lot of people struggling right now and all year long,” Lewis said. “More than anything, our mission is to love God and to love people, and one of the easiest ways to do that right now is to help where we can. We just want people to know that there is hope, and there is help available if they need it.”
Sophie Dingle is a contributing writer for the Steamboat Pilot & Today. She can be reached through the editor.
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