Thousands poured into our region to find work during the oil shale industry boom. Many were living in cars and under bridges while they looked for jobs. Local churches, businesses and concerned citizens joined together to start LIFT-UP, which stands for Life Interfaith Team on Unemployment and Poverty.
When the oil shale industry collapsed in May of 1982, more than 1,200 people found themselves out of work, with no way to feed their families. May 2, 1982 will always be remembered as Black Sunday in Rifle, Colorado. It was the day Exxon locked the gates and more than 2,000 people were suddenly unemployed. People came from all over to work in the oil shale business. Rifle’s population doubled nearly overnight, jumping from 2,700 to around 4,500 people. There were thousands of workers in town. On May 2, 1982, the Colony oil shale project came to a sudden and dramatic halt. Workers were locked out of the site when they reported to work on Monday, May 3. Initially, the reaction from the Rifle community was defiant. But the impact was felt community wide. The banks began to have problems, people left town immediately, and local U-Haul businesses instantly became the busiest place in the United States
Fortunately LIFT-UP was in place, and the community had a way to respond to help the people in need.
HERE TO HELP IN ANY ECONOMY
While the economy has changed over the years, the needs have continued, and LIFT-UP has remained a reliable channel of assistance for our community, serving thousands of people each year who need assistance during times of temporary hardship.
NEIGHBORS HELPING NEIGHBORS
LIFT-UP has historically relied upon the plethora of people, churches, businesses and community organizations who've been ultimately supportive with LIFT-UP. Since 1982, the outpouring of help given by devoted teams of volunteers set the precedent that continues to this day. Our volunteers selflessly give their time and energy to assist the people who turn to us for help.