Nowak, Downing: Need community effort |

Nowak, Downing: Need community effort

Community charitable organizations are coming together again this year to help those in need enjoy a bright holiday. They have combined forces, spearheaded by Routt County United Way, to hold the second annual Holiday Exchange Market on Dec. 12 at Colorado Mountain College.

Formerly known as Holiday Wishes, the new format enables those deemed eligible to participate by local charities to attend the Holiday Exchange Market to select items for their families and themselves. This year all of the items in the market will be new.  Shoppers must present a printed invitation to be admitted into the market. Gift wrapping and child care will be available.

The market offers practical winter clothing items for adults and children as well as toys for children and teens. These clothing items include new adult winter gloves, winter boots and snow pants. Children’s items include new gloves, winter boots, snow pants and also winter coats. In addition, each family will receive grocery store gift cards, so they can select for themselves their favorite holiday meal.

This year the needed items will be collected from the community via the United Way website routtcountyunited using the Holiday Market Exchange tab. Here, readers are able to sign up to donate the item you wish to shop for. In addition, bulletin mitten boards have been set up around town where you can look over paper mittens that have gift requests.

Select a mitten off the board. Write your name and phone number on the right side. Detach the right side and drop it into an envelope attached to the board. Take the left mitten to shop. Return the left mitten with newly purchased item by Dec. 10 either to where you got the mitten or to the United Way office at Fifth and Oak streets between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Do not wrap gifts.

Mitten boards can be found at Alpine Bank, Yampa Valley Bank, Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association, Steamboat Springs Community Center, Boys and Girls Club, Steamboat Today, South Routt Town Hall, Ace Hardware, Mountain Valley Bank (Steamboat Branch) and Hayden Mercantile.

Young Professionals Network of Steamboat will be collecting items in front of Walmart and Sports Authority on Saturday and Sunday. Kiwanis is currently collecting winter socks and has boxes at most clothing retailers.

Last year our market helped 247 families of which there were 833 individuals who obtained much needed winter clothing and toys to make their holidays a joyful time. It takes the entire community to make this happen.

It takes a lot of volunteers the weekend of the market to set up, take down and work with recipients while they are shopping. If you would like to help, visit the United Way website to sign up for two-hour work slots. All volunteers for market day, Dec. 12, must attend an orientation workshop session before helping. These will be held at the United Way office at Fifth and Oak at 5:15 p.m. Dec. 9 or at noon Dec. 10. The workshops will last about 45 minutes and are mandatory for all volunteers working at the market.

Thanks to our community, we’ll make the holidays brighter for everyone.

Kate Nowak

Executive director, Routt County United Way

Donna Downing

Holiday Market steering committee member

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