Letter: 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 the holidays this year as our little, but mighty, community came together for 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 2019 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 175 local families — 721 individuals — with holiday gifts and grocery food cards. No matter the cause, all of the participants were incredibly grateful for the help received from the event.
One local father was anxious that there would be no Christmas for his children. However, with the help of the community, we were able to provide this family with the magic of the holiday season. We also 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.
And for another 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 generosity in everyone. We were particularly inspired by people’s reasons to give this year. The first family who donated gifts had been a recipient of the market in the past, and they were excited for their turn to give back. Watching the children of the donors bring in donations for other children brings a tear to your eye, as the children are so excited to give back to other needy children.
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 at RouttCountyUnitedWay.org.
And a very special thanks to our corporate sponsors and community partners for supporting the Holiday Exchange Market — to name a few: Colorado Group Realty, Young Professionals Network, Yampa Valley Bank, Mountain Valley Bank, Colorado Mountain College, The Drunken Onion, City Market, Colorado Event Rentals, Golden Leaf, Ski Town Lion’s Club, CSFF, Heart of Steamboat United Methodist Church, The Steamboat Group, Steamboat Interiors, Smartwool and all of our partner agencies who referred clients and community members.
With sincerest gratitude,
Executive Director Kate Nowak
Program Manager Amy Blake
Operations Manager Chelsea McLean
Routt County United Way team
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