United Way: The giving spirit of Routt County | SteamboatToday.com

United Way: The giving spirit of Routt County

Each winter in Routt County, there is a little more magic and a little more holiday spirit. This was especially true over Thanksgiving and Christmas, when we saw the difference it makes when our whole community comes together to help those in need. Our holiday programs were met with overwhelming support in the form of volunteering, gift donations, monetary and food donations and community partnerships.

Our 2018 Holiday Exchange Market was highly successful thanks to a community-wide effort to help neighbors and friends in a time of need. The market provided 197 local families — 847 individuals — with holiday gifts and grocery food cards. These families and individuals are experiencing poverty or challenges for a number of different reasons. No matter the cause, all of the participants were incredibly grateful for the help received.

One snow shovel will help a local family keep their home safe and accessible through winter. We saw tremendous relief on a single mother’s face when she was able to get toys and warm winter hats and coats for her children.

For a community member who is struggling due to a sudden illness, the market made the holidays more bearable. And countless participants told us they wouldn’t be able to afford groceries without the help of the Holiday Exchange Market.

Part of the magic of the holiday season is how it brings out a generosity in everyone. We were inspired by people’s reason to give.

The first family who donated gifts this year had been a recipient of the market in the past and were excited for their turn to give back. One 6-year-old Hayden resident requested his friends and family donate his birthday gifts to kids who really need them, so they brought all of the toys to the market.

There were 222 volunteers who made the market possible by helping with planning, gift collection, monitoring mitten boards, setting up the market and working at the market on the day of the event. We want to say a special thank you to all of our mitten board locations, listed on http://www.RouttCountyUnitedWay.org.

And a very special thanks to our corporate sponsors and community partners for supporting the Holiday Exchange Market — CSFF, Colorado Group Realty, Young Professionals Network, Yampa Valley Bank, Citywide Bank, Colorado Mountain College, The Drunken Onion, City Market, Colorado Event Rentals, Steamboat Interiors, Smartwool and all of our partner agencies who referred clients and community members.

With sincerest gratitude,

Kate Nowak, executive director, and Amber DeLay, program manager, for Routt County United Way

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