Our view: Giving unites us
By anyone’s standards, 2020 has been a challenging year. Due to a global pandemic, we’ve had to deal with issues that run the gamut from isolation to devastating job loss to teaching our children at home in an online setting. And most recently, after a summer that almost seemed normal thanks to our ability to dine outside and recreate on thousands of acres of public lands, Routt County businesses were dealt another blow — tighter public restrictions due to a surge in COVID-19 cases — right before the start of Steamboat’s busiest season.
We’ve also weathered a fiery election year that threatened to not only divide our country, but our community as well. There are still rumblings of division out there, but we believe the holiday season provides us with the perfect opportunity to look beyond what separates us and focus on what unites us.
Generosity is a quality that defines Routt County and its residents, and we believe it’s that spirit that will bring us all together as this year comes to a close. Our love for giving was on display big time when fundraising on Yampa Valley Gives Day on Dec. 8 surpassed the $1.1 million mark, setting a new record for money raised on the 24-hour day of giving and benefiting 67 area nonprofits through 5,127 donations.
I think we can all agree on one thing — there are individuals, families, businesses and nonprofits that need our support this year more than ever, and we’d like to use this week’s Our View space to encourage more end-of-the-year giving as a way to come together to ring out the year in unity and shared purpose.
Toward that end, we’ve compiled a list of how you can give this holiday season. This is not an exhaustive list, but it should help point you in the right direction.
• Give through United Way’s Gift Giving Guide, which can be accessed online at routtcountyunitedway.org/giftgivingguide. This giving option replaces the Holiday Marketplace and allows people to target their donations to help the safety net of human services organizations that exist to support local families in need year-round. The guide focuses on organizations and services in three impact areas: youth resiliency, early childhood education and financial stability.
At issue: This year has been a tough one with a global pandemic and intense presidential election sowing seeds of discord.
Our View: The holiday season is the perfect time to come together and focus on what unites us by giving to help locals in need.
• Logan Molen, publisher
• Lisa Schlichtman, editor
• Kevin Fisher, community representative
• George Danellis, community representative
Contact the Editorial Board at 970-871-4221 or lschlichtman@SteamboatPilot.com.
• Fight food insecurity by giving directly to LiftUp of Routt County, which operates food banks in Steamboat Springs, Oak Creek and Hayden. According to LiftUp, there are currently 2,600 families in the county who don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Your donation to the nonprofit can help ensure people are not going to bed hungry. To give, visit liftup.org/ways-to-give/#donate.
• Support local restaurants and families in need through the Steamboat Local Love program, which asks people to commit to ordering more takeout and asks individuals and businesses to make donations that will be used to purchase gift cards from local restaurants. Those cards will then be given to the LiftUp of Routt County food bank, which will distribute them to families identified as food insecure. For more information, visit steamboatlocallove.com.
• Give to local nonprofits that offer mental health resources to those in need. According to Colorado Crisis Services, the organization has been fielding a record-breaking number of calls during the pandemic. In Routt County, REPS — Reaching Everyone Preventing Suicide — offers free counseling support and training. To donate to that organization or for more information, visit steamboatsuicideprevention.com.
• Support your friends and neighbors. Due to public health protocols, many people may be celebrating the holidays alone or without family in town, so a great way to give to others is to check in on your neighbors and friends. A text, phone call or food item left on the doorstep can spread a lot of cheer during a time that can be tough for many.
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Wearing a face mask is the biggest act of compassion one human being can do for another right now. Kindness, in 2021, has a tangible symbol and that symbol is a face mask.