Best of the Boat: Best Community Service Organization/Thrift Store — LiftUp of Routt County |

Best of the Boat: Best Community Service Organization/Thrift Store — LiftUp of Routt County

The crew at LiftUp of Routt County.

Turning community donations into food, shelter, warmth and support for Routt County's low-income residents, LiftUp of Routt County ran away with top honors in this year's Best Community Service Organization category.

"Our community is incredibly supportive and generous," says Executive Director Sue Fegelein. "The in-kind and financial support we get is amazing."

Contrary to what bargain hunters might think, LiftUp does far more than operate its popular Thrift Store, a category it also won handily.

Its programs also include a Food Bank, Emergency Assistance, Adopt-a Shelf, Rocket Pack, Grow-a-Row, Hope for the Future Scholarship, Power up Work Readiness and more. In 2016, 2,234 low-income residents in Routt County received food, emergency assistance and self-sufficiency support from LiftUp. Its Thrift Store contributed nearly $200,000 to its Food Bank emergency assistance and self-sufficiency programs; its Rocket Pack program helped 386 kids receive healthy school snacks and summer lunches; and it distributed 34 percent more food over 2015, including a 700 percent increase in its Grow-a-Row program, distributing 4 tons of produce.

It owes this success, says Fegelein, to its 150 volunteers, who last year contributed 13,133 hours, saving the organization $300,000 in personnel costs.

"We do a lot more than operate the Thrift Store," she says. "We're trying hard to show people what services we have. Shopping at the Thrift Store directly supports people in need."

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She adds that people's donations can go farther this year thanks to a $63,000 matching grant from an anonymous donor (donate in person or at, and that it's hosting an inaugural Food Aid Fundraiser at the Chief Theater Dec. 10-11. "It's great the amount of support we get in Steamboat," she says. "It impresses us every day."


See the complete list of 2017 Best of the Boat winners here.

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