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The Voice of La Puente Fall 2015

Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but a thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.

The Voice of La Puente is a quarterly publication that is meant to provide readers with a glimpse of the day-today life at La Puente Home. It is a way to share the goals, dreams, and accomplishments of our staff, guests, and clients. La Puente Home strives to provide support and resources to the residents of the Valley experiencing crisis. We could not accomplish what we do without your support and commitment. If you would like more information or would like to join our electronic mailing list, visit www.lapuente.net. La Puente endeavors to meet immediate needs and empower people to live independently, with dignity. We provide emergency shelter, food assistance, homeless prevention, community outreach services, and job training for the homeless and other community members in crisis.

Created & Edited by Bethany Howell, Communications Director With much appreciation to contributors

All names changed to protect anonymity

www.lapuente.net 911 State Ave 719.589.5909

Quote on front cover attributed to Chief Seattle

Table of Contents Letter from the Editor......................................................2 PALS: A Service to Our Children’s Well Being.................4 One Backpack at a Time..................................................6 Myths of Homelessness...................................................7 Life in the Flats.................................................................8 A Little Peas(ce)..............................................................10 PALS’ Super Summer......................................................12 Peyton’s PALS.................................................................13 Pizza & a Smile ...............................................................14 Food Bank Partners........................................................15 Inheritance of Strength..................................................16 The Hunger Glass............................................................18 Building a Playground....................................................19 Where Did All The Homeless Vets Go?..........................20 A Tale of Two Programs ................................................22 CFC Giving Helps.............................................................23 La Puente Needs List.....................................................24 Want to Volunteer?.........................................................27 We Need Your Support!.................................................28

“Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.” ~ Mother Teresa

Letter from the Editor Bethany Howell

I am an inveterate outdoor napper. I can’t resist a swathe of soft green grass on a beautiful day. I bring a book to keep my kids company at the park – within 20 minutes on a nice day, the book is face down and so am I. Recently, on a family trip to Denver, my predilection won again. After lunch, my family and I walked back to our car without a concrete plan in place. Feeling comfortably full, I spied green grass under a tall tree. I couldn’t help but think about how nice it was to enjoy the outdoors, even in the middle of a bustling city. Because of my work with La Puente, my thoughts also turned toward the topic of city ordinances that crop up quite frequently in regard to the criminalization of homeless behaviors. These are common in cities across the country and range from making it illegal to sleep on a park bench or outside, to sit on the sidewalk, or to hold a sign asking for money. Often, as a result of being found guilty of breaking city ordinances, a homeless person now has fines and a record of misdemeanors to reckon with. This just makes finding employment and saving money even harder, not to mention the strain it places on social services and jails who must deal with increased populations being incarcerated and processed. A recent news article caught my attention in regard to this topic and sheds new light on why passing these ordinances doesn’t always produce the results the community might want. In Utah, a city expunged all minor offenses from the records of homeless people. This might seem like a small gesture, but in light of the difficulties that can arise from having these misdemeanors on their records the positive results from this action cannot be overstated. Recent rulings in the federal government also found that these “criminalization of homeless” ordinances were unconstitutional punishment as it criminalizes behavior that is “a universal and unavoidable consequence of being human.”Alamosa has had its fair share of panhandlers and people sleeping under the bridge at the park. We’re all familiar with the uncomfortable feeling that comes from being asked for money or food from someone standing on a corner. It’s hard to walk past someone who perhaps hasn’t showered


recently, or wears clothes not much laundered. And when they decide to take a nap in the city park like I so often have? Would we smile indulgently or laugh a little in companionship as I’m sure people have done when they passed me snoozing? Not very often. It’s hard to be homeless, and even harder to be punished for just being human. In this issue of The Voice of La Puente, we’re featuring a firsthand perspective of homelessness from Calvin Moreau, trying to dispel some of the myths around homelessness, recognizing the struggles that our clients face on a daily basis, and celebrating our partners and supporters who understand that poverty has a face and feelings.

Did You Know?

The struggle of homelessness was recorded in a blues song called “Dark was the Night, Cold was the Ground” by a singer named Blind Willie Johnson. Blind Willie was a native of Texas who sang on the streets in the early part of the 20th century and who lived a poverty-stricken life from his birth in 1897 until his death. After his home burned to the ground in 1945, Blind Willie lived in the burned ruins until he contracted a fever and died that same year. “Dark was the Night, Cold was the Ground,” written in 1927, was chosen as one of the musical tracks placed on the Voyager Project space probe in 1977, the penultimate track preceded by only the Cavatina from Beethoven’s String Quartet Op. 130. Timothy Ferris, an astronomer who worked with Carl Sagan in selecting the tracks, said, “Johnson’s song concerns a situation he faced many times, nightfall with no place to sleep. Since humans appeared on Earth, the shroud of night has yet to fall without touching a man or woman in the same plight.”

“Then learn of Him the cross to bear; Thy Father’s will obey; And when temptations press thee near, Awake to watch and pray.” Dark was the Night, Cold was the Ground The only known photograph of Blind Willie Johnson


PALS: A Service to Our Children’s By Lance Cheslock Emotional Well-Being Tending to the social emotional health of kids in crises is imperative to maintain their ability to reach their full potential as adults. Marquez is 31 years old, living at the shelter and struggling to find and maintain employment. His childhood was impacted by violence in his home and disorientation after he was thrown out of his home at a young age. Marquez has always scored highly on standardized tests and has no addictions or chronic mental illness, other than Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from his childhood. Yet Marquez is timid, lacks confidence, and his efforts to engage employment always find a way to falter. He, and many others, exemplify what can happen later in life if a child’s social emotional well being is not nurtured or healed from a traumatic experience. Research by the American Journal of Public Health (July 2015) has shown that if the social and emotional well being of a young child is not addressed during times of crises, more profound social emotional problems will surface in adulthood. These problems could potentially involve “education, employment, criminal activity, mental health, and substance abuse.” Now meet Caleb and Abe, ages 6 and 9, who arrived at the shelter with their mom and dad. Their family lived in a remote area in the flats of the Valley, and the isolation, poverty, and the deteriorating health of their mother forced the family’s relocation to be closer to vital services. Caleb and Abe’s parents were a loving couple and parents, college educated, addiction-free- yet had been swallowed by trauma and circumstance. The boys were caught in the knot of their family’s instability. They had lost their home, and the disruptions of the past year had wreaked havoc on their social emotional well being. They were not well. The shelter volunteers helped to find the family housing, and the boys’ dad found work to assist the family’s journey to begin anew. Tragically, within a couple of weeks, Caleb and Abe’s mother passed away.


While at the shelter, Caleb and Abe found a place of acceptance and stability in PALS. PALS provides a place of belonging in a structured environment that offers emotional support, explorative learning, and reinforces pro-social behaviors.PALS enhances sense of self, family, and community addressing past experiences to ensure present and future success. By providing after school, holiday, and summer day programming, PALS gives parents the chance to focus on their own personal growth and pressing responsibilities, while knowing their children are in a safe place. PALS staff and children welcomed Caleb and Abe and engaged them in daily learning activities, community service, skill building, and lots of play and fun. The boys were given a reprieve and supportive perspective around their difficult family challenges. In addition, PALS volunteers spent time with the PALS learn construction boys and their PALS peers on site at skills from a work group. school. The result bolstered each boys’ emotional stability, self-concept, and normalized their functioning with life’s basic needs, as well as the demands of school. Caleb and Abe are going to be OK! We will work with compassion and diligence to provide all the resources and support for Marquez to find his place back in the community, but the solution to his current situation may have been missed opportunity of years ago. As for Abe and Caleb, we congratulate them on a new school year with a fresh start! Their dad thinks that despite Painting a mural on the everything, they will continue to improve wall at a local gardening with the right support and store. encouragement in their new environments.


One Backpack At a Time

By Bethany Howell & Mae Mercadante

Imagine a young child ready for their first day of school – without a backpack in hand. This is a reality many families face when August rolls around. For those families, the beginning of school is a hurdle, so Outreach Outreach Director Mae Mercadante chats Services holds an annual with a family receiving backpacks. drive each summer. By connecting with school counselors and other resources, Outreach staff were able to put together over 800 backpacks for five counties of the San Luis Valley. This year, even more children were identified thanks to the McKinney-Vento Act. The act defines homeless children as “individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence,” such as children and youth who share housing due to loss of housing, economic hardship or a similar reason. Over 80 backpacks went specifically to these McKinneyVento children, and were distributed discreetly so that they didn’t have to wait in line. A few days after the distribution, Mae received a call from a school counselor. They needed an additional 100 backpacks for other children. “There’s always something more that needs to be done,” explained Mae.


The line for school supplies in Alamosa.

Seven Myths of Homelessness

adapted from the Huffington Post article by Ann Brenoff

People are Fine with Being Homeless 1 Homeless It’s hard to accept homelessness and to be seen as homeless.It’s something they often work hard to avoid.

Homeless People All Live on the Streets or Sleep in Shelters

2 People living in their cars is the fastest growing segment of the homeless population. Chronically homeless don’t have cars.

People Don’t Take Care of Themselves 3 Homeless Joining a gym gives the homeless a place to shower and stay

clean, and a safe place to be. Public libraries provide warmth in winter, air conditioning in summer, and free public bathrooms.


Homeless People Only Want Money or Food People are often looking for a way to get their dignity back by enrolling in programs that help them get back onto their feet.

Homelessness is Always Related to Mental Illness/and or

5 Substance Abuse

Homelessness is more about lack of shelter and economic hardship, although it has traditionally been accompanied by or is a result of untreated mental illness and/or substance abuse.


Humans Are the Only Ones Who Need Help Pets often live with homeless people and they need help, too. Most shelters don’t generally welcome pets but as much as 24% of the homeless have cats or dogs.

Homeless People Don’t Use the Internet

7 Free wifi can make life bearable. Cell phones can be a lifeline to civilization as well as help access and apply for jobs, stay in contact, and find information.


Life in the Flats: La Puente’s Rural By Lance Cheslock Outreach Initiative In the San Luis Valley, there are hundreds of miles of undeveloped, non-arable land, with limited access due to primitive roads and long distances from the nearest towns. Over the years, the sale of small, inexpensive lots have lured in homesteaders and “urban refugees” who often arrive on their plot having purchased it sight unseen. Most of these homesteaders don’t make it through a single year. Over the past 3 decades, a small scattering of settlements have become established, occupied by rugged, independent survivalists who create makeshift living quarters with building materials, school buses, old RV’s, and campers. Many of these households have figured out how to live without running water, electricity, or cell phone service. At the same time, most of the households in the “flats” live close to life’s edge with precarious conditions. La Puente is working to provide a humanitarian presence to these households through our Rural Outreach Initiative. The goal is to expand the regional safey net of services for individuals and families living in the “flats” of the San Luis Valley. Our mission is to give consideration to health, safety, and general well-being, while respecting the choices that residents have made in their lifestyle.

Our Subaru since August X Blown Clutch X Blown Engine X All Four Tires


We Need

a sturdy 4-wheel drive truck, camper shell, and tires that can manage diverse terrain.

Robert keeps a positive attitude wherever he goes.

Robert joined the Rural Outreach Initiative before it even became a program, back in the winter of 2015. Robert volunteered to go out to the “flats” in order to count those who qualified for the federal government’s Point in Time homeless count. He knew there were many living off the grid without resources to help them get by. After seeing the extreme need, Robert knew that La Puente could help, even if it just meant letting people know that resources are available.

“I don’t see the desert as barren at all; I see it as full and ripe. It doesn’t need to be flattered with rain. It certainly needs rain, but it does with what it has, and creates amazing beauty.” ~ Joy Harjo


A Little Bit of Peas (Peace)

By Robin Lewis

On the last day of VEGI’s ten-week garden camp, I noticed one of our regular camp attendees, Jonathan, off by himself near the pea plants. Normally, Jonathan is very engaged, jovial, and easy-going. I asked him a few times to come join the rest of the group for our lessons and activities (including making veggie pizzas!), but he continued to drift off by himself to munch peas. Finally, I squatted down next to him. Jonathan said, “I’m just sad that garden camp is over. I don’t know why you guys can’t have it go longer.” “I love garden camp too,” I replied. “But guess what? There are other ways you can be in the garden this fall. We’ll be in your class at school and you can bring you family to the Boyd garden on Tuesday nights!” Jonathan immediately brightened. “Wow, really? That sounds great!” While garden camp is a special time for children in the summer here in Alamosa, I love that we can continue to engage kids throughout all the other seasons. In the summer of 2015, VEGI worked with 130 children through three summer programs. To date, the program has harvested 1300 pounds of produce that has made its way into the Alamosa Elementary School’s Summer Food Service Program, the shelter, the Food Bank, and to the tables of community members.

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”

~ Arthur Ashe


Watering freshly planted seeds at camp.

Students in Transition a poem about child homelessness by Russell “Rooster” Valentini (Pennsylvania homeless advocate)

Students in Transition, Sounds like they’re on a mission. But, all it means is they don’t have a home, That does not mean they live alone. Students in Transition does not mean they lack ambition. Just they have a secret they don’t want you to know, When they leave school, they have no place to go. Students in Transition, are students first, please listen! It doesn’t mean they can’t read or write. In fact, many of these students are quite bright. Students in Transition, I am not a mathematician. However, there are thousands of children across our state, Who live in shelters, hotels, or with a doubled-up fate. Students in Transition, At times, these students are wishin’, that their lockers and desks weren’t the only place These students have for personal space.


PALS’ Super Summer!

The PALS program had a fantastic summer thanks to supporters who made it possible to visit Denver, attend a Colorado Rockies game, and eat ice cream sundaes at Coors Field! PALS also worked hard in the garden and created beautiful artistic masterpieces.

“God put us here to prepare this place for the next generation. That’s our job. Raising children and helping the community, that’s preparing for the next generation.”


~ Dikembe Mutombo

Peyton’s PALS

By Bethany Howell

“Let’s play Grizzly Bears and Hunters,” suggested Peyton Sanchez to the rest of the kids gathered around him. The others obligingly listened as Peyton explained the rules. Peyton is the son of Charlie and Sheila Sanchez, big brother to Landon, and an all around courageous kid. The PALS Children’s Program of La Puente met with Peyton and his family at Cole Park to spend some time with Peyton before he headed to Houston, Texas with his mom to participate in a new clinical trial. Peyton has suffered from tumors since 2010, and now has been diagnosed with a tumor on his brain stem. But in spite of these debilitating medical issues, Peyton spent the afternoon doing what he does best, caring for his community (and enjoying ice cream floats at the same time). This past summer, Peyton operated a lemonade booth in order to raise money for the PALS program and the Food Bank. He raised $2,000 in the hope that he could give back to his community. “We’re just so grateful to have had the benefit from Peyton’s big heart,” said PALS Director Tim Dellett. “We’re glad to have him as an official PAL.” Peyton’s mom Sheila echoed those sentiments, noting that Peyton has always been a thoughtful, caring kid, “He just likes to help people.” She added that he was very excited to support the Food Bank and PALS because he loves to be specific with his giving. “He’s looking forward to shopping and picking out food to give to the Food Bank.” Needless to say, a wonderful afternoon was had by all the kids. Peyton’s community spirit is an inspiring example that no matter your age or health condition, giving is one of the best things in life. “No one has yet realized the wealth of sympathy, the kindness and generosity hidden in the soul of a child.” ~ Emma Goldman

Peyton and Lance at the 2015 SummerFest booth.


Pizza & A Smile

By Bethany Howell with Wendell Bliss

When the Food Bank began its partnership with Little Caesar’s Pizza, the Food Bank staff knew that their clients would be excited. As the first few weeks passed, they began to realize just what a huge difference a ready made pizza could make in their clients’ lives. Wendell, one of our new long term service members, noticed that one woman in particular was incredibly happy to pick up a pizza. She explained to him that she lived outside of town in a camper trailer. The trailer isn’t equipped with a conventional stove or oven; instead, she heats her meals on a skillet over a gas flame. Any type of food that required actual cooking or baking was beyond her capability. In addition to not being able to utilize baking products, her food stamps don’t allow her to buy hot and ready made food items. She was stuck in a difficult predicament - until the Food Bank was able to offer the Little Caesar’s pizzas. Now, she is happy that she can enjoy a tasty meal with minimal preparation. Other Food Bank clients are in similar situations. Many who live outside of town in extremely rural conditions are unable to utilize cooking or baking food items. Without a stove or oven, the food options are extremely limited. Wendell is continually struck by the light that he sees spark in people’s eyes when they see the option of a fresh pizza. The smile, he says, is a wonderful thing to see as a staff member. The Food Bank Network of the San Luis Valley is seeing people’s lives changed - all because of a pizza. “The first essential component of social justice is adequate food for all mankind. Food is the moral right of all who are born into this world.” ~ Norman Borlaug


Customers find fresh produce almost daily at the Alamosa location.

The Food Bank Network Celebrates Amazing Community Partnerships!

We’ve all seen it - kids in the grocery stores melting down while waiting for their parents to finish shopping. The Food Bank operates in grocery store-style, and with children making up over 40% of our clients, sometimes the kiddos can get a little antsy. The Little Free Library of Alamosa knew that children would love the opportunity to read books to entertain themselves and so they gifted the Food Bank location in Alamosa with their own Little Free Library.

“The thing that lies at the foundation of positive change, the way I see it, is service to a fellow human being.” ~ Lee Iacocca

When Edward Carlson volunteered with the Alamosa Food Bank he noticed our lack of shelving for produce. With a generous donation from Living Water Bible Fellowship for the materials, Edward and his son Jesse were able to build us a beautiful new shelving unit! 15

Inheritance of Strength

By Elisabeth Tissell

Sitting in church on Sunday, Constancia appears to be a typical grandmother. She attends services, volunteers regularly, and always ensures that her great-grand children go to Sunday School. From the outside, nothing seems amiss, yet her story is a long one and far from over. Constancia has lived in the Valley most of her life. The eldest of several siblings, she learned to emulate her mother’s strength. Despite the difficulties at home caused by her father’s alcoholism, Constancia obtained her GED. She then worked as Elisabeth & a young client a waitress before marrying and having look through books at the office. children. Alcoholism and family breakdown haunted Constancia’s family. She and her husband eventually took their grandson and granddaughter under their wings and raised them as their own. When Constancia’s husband died, she had to brave the family upheaval alone. The granddaughter she helped raise is now trapped in her own web of destruction and can’t parent her three daughters. Constancia took the three young girls into her home, a decision which led to her eviction from senior housing. With Adelante’s support, Constancia has established a stable home for her three great-granddaughters. The girls have planted watermelons, made dinner together, and decorated their rooms in glittery purple and pink. They feel safe here, and know that they are loved. With the PALS’ program, the girls have had adventures, field trips, and friends. Constancia, meanwhile, has had Adelante’s steady support with car repairs, rental assistance, and advocacy as she fights for custody of her great-granddaughters. Constancia never thought to traverse this road, but she will tell anyone she’d do it again in a heartbeat. Because of her strength, self-sacrifice, and unwavering love amidst heartache, three beautiful young women have a chance. Perhaps, they too will share the lessons they learned from Constancia with their own children.


Adelante Throwback!

The Adelante Family Program began in 1991 and has a long, rich history of helping clients reach self-sufficiency and have fun along the way. The PALS Children’s program originated from Adelante as many families with young children needed a safe place after school for their kids to be loved and supported.

“Together with a culture of work, there must be a culture of leisure as gratification. To put it another way: people who work must take the time to relax, to be with their families, to enjoy themselves, read, listen to music, play a sport. “ ~ Pope Francis


The Hunger Glass By Kristen Hartley The effects of hunger are seen in the continuous cycle of generational poverty. Children that do not receive adequate nutrition during the first 5 years of their life are at risk to immune system deficiency and abnormal brain development. Low grades and behavioral problems are almost inevitable. it is hard enough for children to break through the barriers of poverty, but without the ability to acquire a successful education that barrier becomes even larger. Many students in the Valley will not graduate from high school and even less will attempt higher education. Many will follow a similar path as their parents; they will try to support a family on a low income. Emergency food assistance and low food budgets create other challenges for individuals. Even with purchasing the cheapest food options many families will run out of food stamps before the end of the month. Food stamps and other food assistance programs were created as solutions to deal with emergency food needs, but we are seeing that individuals and families are depending on these programs as a critical source of income, because their own income is so School can become a challenge for kids, not because of low intelligence, miniscule. Food insecurity is not but because of the effects of hunger. the problem, but rather a result of the problem. People must choose between feeding themselves and their families and trying to “improve� their situation. The effect of hunger is a glass ceiling that shadows generation after generation in this irrepressible circle. The only way out is up, we cannot always see the glass. We cannot see the gap. Our goal is to make the glass ceiling visible, so that those who have the power to bridge that gap will strive to reduce it until it is diminished altogether.


Building a Playground, Building a Community By Bethany Howell

On a beautiful day in September, over 260 community members helped to build a playground at Zapata Park. With the partnership of the Colorado Health Foundation, the City of Alamosa and La Puente worked with Kaboom! to bring this amazing opportunity to Alamosa children. Kaboom! is a national organization based in Washington, D.C. that works with communities and funding partners to find opportunities to provide play. So many amazing community members’ dedication and hard work made the playground a reality, beautifying and increasing the play-ability of the south side. This is especially great news for the children who must stay at the shelter, only a few blocks away. The opportunity for their parents to help them play and be carefree is the way childhood is meant to be - Fun!

Photo credit: Candace Miller Photography


Homeless Veterans Abducted by Space Aliens By Calvin Moreau Where did your favorite homeless veterans go? You know, the one flying the sign that you used to slip a few bucks to now and then. He is gone now, and you have no clue what happened to him. Could be that one of the San Luis Valley’s UFOs swooped down and abducted him, or is there a better chance that he found the help he needed to disappear from the street to become a productive member of the community? What are the odds that he has found work and a place to live, and his sign is now recycled cardboard? The truth is that homeless veterans across the country disappear from the streets not by space aliens, but by finding the help they need from programs like the one at La Puente Home. Homeless veterans, like most other homeless people, have barriers to integration into the community. Many have their own self-imposed limitations acquired from years living on the streets. They are often reluctant to use the resources available to them or have a lack of self-motivation. They wonder, “How can yet another ‘Program’ help me?” Homeless veterans face the stereotypes created by the myths of homelessness that other homeless people have to deal with. Often veterans, especially combat veterans have issues that are different from those of regular homeless people, such as serious emotional, psychological, and physical needs like traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder. Because the issues facing homeless veterans can be more complex and require more time to resolve than those of the regular homeless population, the program offers up to two years of residence at La Puente Home. So, where is your favorite homeless veteran now? The Veterans Grant/Per Diem Program of La Puente


Home and its outreach into the community greatly increased the odds that he has found work and a place to live, and his sign in now re-cycled cardboard. If that frustrates the space aliens, then they will just have to stick with abducting cows, because it does not take a UFO to lift a homeless veteran from the streets. All it takes is people uplifting people, and that is what La Puente Home does best.

A veteran participates in the flag folding ceremony on Veteran’s Day. The 2013 Point-in-Time Count conducted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development determined that Colorado had over 680 homeless veterans. - 32% live in rural areas - 51% have disabilities - 50% have serious mental illness - 70% have substance abuse problems

“The characteristic of a genuine heroism is its persistency. All men have wandering impulses, fits and starts of generosity. But when you have resolved to be great, abide by yourself, and do not weakly try to reconcile yourself with the world. The heroic cannot be common, nor the common heroic.�

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Veterans of different ages and military branches salute the flag. 21

A Tale of Two Programs

By Bethany Howell

Recently, a mother, father, and their young daughter came into the shelter. The parents had struggled with drug abuse in the past but were determined to stay clean. Unfortunately for the father, a serious stumble back into that world resulted in an escalated situation that ended with jail time. His wife and daughter, meanwhile, were accepted into the Adelante family self-sufficiency program, a decision that turned their story around. Newly pregnant, the mom and her child moved into stable housing and mom began to look into educational opportunities. After enrolling in Trinidad State Junior College to begin coursework in business, mom continued to meet with her Adelante case manager. Adelante Director Tara Bay and Shelter Director Tona Ruybal were blown away with this young woman’s perseverance and determination to stay clean. She has her sights set on taking over her father’s electrical business someday. Even more, Tara has been amazed by the young woman’s realization that she CAN make it on her own, she CAN parent sober and provide for her children. This realization flipped her perspective and sense of self-worth completely. After a few months away from his family, her husband has been released and is now working on his own struggles with drugs. He knows that self-control will determine whether he has a place with his family or not. All families have their ups and downs, some more down than others. With our intersection of programs like the shelter and Adelante, we are grateful to be a part of stories like this.

“Homeless people are just like the rest of us, only they’ve run out of lifelines.” ~ Candi Darley

homeless for 7 years


Partner with CFC & Help Others!

Last year, Americans gave over $358 billion to charities in the U.S., helping to fight poverty, food inequalities, and social injustices. Thousands of charities were able to help their communities with compassion and understanding through the incoming support of families, businesses, individuals, and government employees. Here at La Puente, we would not be able to do what we do without those who also believe in our work and mission. The majority of our funding comes from local individuals and businesses who recognize the incredible need for our services here in their own communities. Many of our donors choose to keep their support close to home, to help their neighbors, friends, and families in need across the San Luis Valley. As a federal employee, one way to do this is through the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) . Last year, La Puente received thousands of dollars in generous support from our friends employed by the local U.S. Postal Service, military armed forces, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Parks Service and other government agencies here in Colorado. Monthly donations are made through federal employee pay cycles and contributed significantly towards La Puente’s ability to meet the Valley’s needs. Giving is easy and we urge you to consider choosing La Puente as a recipient of your monthly and annual support through the CFC. Visit www.rockymountaincfc.org or work with your employer to choose La Puente as your charity recipient through your online payroll system and giving form. Your gift is always tax-deductible. Your contribution will help us provide nights of shelter and community meals, and will also ensure that every person who comes through our doors receives the guidance and resources they need to begin once again living independently, with dignity. La Puente CFC Giving Code: 69410 La Puente Home Incorporated



iv CG

s!10,000 overnight shelter stays provided 56 children cared for in the PALS program

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23 families reaching self-sufficiency with Adelante 1,400 individuals given emergency outreach help 23

PALS Assistance with fuel costs Wal-Mart, Safeway, and City Market gift cards Sponsors for field trips Wooden Cubbies Donations for Sensory Kits Dish Soap Hand Sanitizer Bathroom Tissue New Children’s Underwear & Socks

La Puente Adelante

Bicycles for family transportation Permanent bike racks Minor car repairs Phone Cards (Straight Talk or Verizon) Gas vouchers to attend work/ school Life Skills speakers Toiletries for all genders and ages All Sizes of Diapers Wal-Mart, Safeway, and City Market gift cards “Generosity is giving more than Nursing Scrubs (all sizes) you can, and pride is taking less than you need.”

~ Khalil Gibran

Volunteer Coordination/ Communications & Engagement

Crafting Supplies Event tent canopy DSLR Camera Work gloves Vehicle for full-time volunteers



MILAGROS (2) Cambro Hot Boxes RAINBOW’S END ALAMOSA UHaul Truck XL Trash Bags Rubber Bands Lumber for Shelving RAINBOW’S END MONTE VISTA Lumber for Shelving OVER THE RAINBOW APTS Commercial Carpet Cleaner RETHREADS Dish Soap Laundry Detergent Hygiene Items Men’s Clothing Silverware & Dishware

Needs List Shelter

Hygiene Kits - toothpaste/toothbrush - deodorant/lotion - feminine products - soap - shampoo/conditioner Diapers (sizes 4, 5, 6) Pens Permanent & Dry Erase markers Eggs/Cooking Oil Coffee Milk/butter Sugar Towels Men’s and women’s underwear/socks

Food Bank Plastic quart size bags Canned protein (peanut butter, tuna, chicken, beans) Baking Needs (flour, sugar, soda, etc.) Kid-friendly food (applesauce, granola bars) Gas cards to help with food pick ups Dry Erase markers Permanent markers Interior informational signs

Outreach Services

Donated Firewood Paper Towels Bathroom Tissue Safeway Gas Cards for Clients’ Medical Use Labor to collect free firewood Wal-Mart & Safeway Gift Cards for emergency food Labor to block and split firewood for emergency heat

Administration (6) Plastic Anti-Static Floor Mats Pocket File Folders


Organic Soil/Compost Wood Chips Shovels Wheelbarrows Floating row cover/Agribon Metal Hoops for row covers Volunteers


Once you Are REAL You Can't be Ugly Except to People who don’t understand Margery Williams “The Velveteen Rabbit”


Want to Volunteer?

There are many great volunteer opportunities at La Puente for individuals or groups looking to give back! Much of what La Puente does would not be possible without the support, love, and commitment of our volunteers.

Service Opportunities Include:

Community Volunteer We need volunteers of all ages for one-time, weekly, or monthly intervals at many of our programs. - Create hygiene kits for the shelter - Work at the front desk at Outreach - Read to or lead a craft for PALS - Help at a community event Full-time Volunteer During a year of service, full-time volunteers and AmeriCorps Members obtain firsthand experience serving at one of our programs.

Work Group Service Work groups come from all over the country to help La Puente complete projects and serve our clients. - Chop wood for Outreach Services - Prepare meals at the Shelter - Glean produce for the Food Bank - Be a PALS Big Buddy for the day

To Learn More

about volunteering, contact our Office of Volunteer Services at 719.587.3499 or visit “Get Involved� at www.lapuente.net

Joy is not in things, it is...in us.


We Need Your Support!

Financial support is crucial for our efforts to address homelessness and hunger throughout the Valley. La Puente depends on individuals, churches, and businesses for much of our support. We are proud that 85% of our funding is non-governmental and 93% of every dollar goes to direct services! (2013 990). Please consider any size financial gift to help us in service to our community.

Let Generosity Reduce Your Taxes

All donations are tax deductable. In addition, cash donations of $100 or more are eligible for one of two Colorado tax credits: 1. The 25% “Enterprise Zone” (EZ) tax credit that supports all programs. 2. The 50% “Colorado Childcare Tax Credit” (CCTC) that supports our PALS Children’s Program. Tax credits are direct payments towards the taxes you owe, whether or not you use deductions. For example: with a $1,000 donation you can 1) deduct $1,000 off both your state and federal taxes, and/or 2) Receive a credit worth $250 (EZ) or $500 (CCTC) towards your Colorado taxes. Consider These Here’s How: Options! 1. Donate $100 or more charitable gift 2. Make the donation payable to: annuities “The Enterprise Zone” for a 25% tax credit - charitable “The PALS Program” for a 50% tax credit remainder trusts 3. Mail us your gift 4. We’ll send you a certificate of tax credit* - memorial and honorary gifts that can be used like a check payable to - bequests Colorado’s Department of Revenue *Credits are only available to Colorado state - appreciated stock - beneficiary tax payers designations Donate a Vehicle! Every program relies on vehicle donations. Earn a tax deduction for the market value of your vehicle and La Puente will handle the title transfer. Contact Gena Dellett at 719.588.5678 or development@lapuente.net for more information 28

May I be a guard for those who need protection A guide for those on the path A boat, a raft, a bridge for those who wish to cross the flood May I be a lamp in the darkness A resting place for the weary A healing medicine for all who are sick A vase of plenty, a tree of miracles And for the boundless multitudes of living beings May I bring sustenance and awakening Enduring like the earth and sky Until all beings are freed from sorrow And all are awakened. ~ Bodhissatva Prayer for Humanity

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P.O. Box 1235 Alamosa, CO 81101 719.589.5909 www.lapuente.net

La Puente

Non Profit Organization U.S. Postage Paid Alamosa, CO 81101 Permit No. 27

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