In times of need, the Lyons Emergency Assistance Fund (LEAF) provides help in the form of food, basic needs assistance, and emotional support to struggling Lyons residents. The COVID-19 crisis and the resulting shutdown of businesses has led to an increase in need. LEAF is doing what it always does, but it could not do what it does without the help of donors.
The CEMEX Foundation, the philanthropic arm of CEMEX USA, has donated $15,000 to LEAF to help it meet higher-than-normal demand during these unprecedented times. CEMEX USA operates a cement plant in Lyons, one of 10 plants throughout the United States. Michael Clausen, corporate social responsibility specialist for CEMEX in Lyons, said the CEMEX Foundation decided in response to COVID-19 to allocate funds to local schools and communities in areas served by the company. LEAF was chosen because of the immediate and direct assistance it provides local residents.
“It seemed to us that giving to LEAF would have the strongest impact,” said Clausen.
He joined CEMEX Lyons Cement Plant Manager Uwe Lubjuhn as they awarded the check to LEAF Executive Director Lory Barton this past Wednesday, taking safe social distancing precautions.
“CEMEX is deeply connected within the Lyons community since we have been involved in the community for decades, and we want to do what we can to help our neighbors,” said Lubjuhn. “The COVID-19 pandemic has created a difficult situation for people in Lyons and across Colorado, and we are proud to be able to support the community while so many are facing hardships.”
The bulk of the funds will be allocated to LEAF’S food pantry and to the basic needs grant program that provides funds to help residents meet basic needs such as rent. According to a statement by Barton on LEAF’s website, the food pantry participation has doubled since the start of COVID-19 shutdowns, and basic needs requests have increased by 900 percent.
CEMEX in Lyons has had a longstanding relationship with LEAF. In 2019, it was recognized by LEAF as “Donor of the Year.” In addition, the plant has been recognized by such organizations as the Portland Cement Association and Wildlife Habitat Council for its community outreach and environmental performance.