Our View: Our spirit of giving unites us | SteamboatToday.com

Our View: Our spirit of giving unites us

Editorial board

Suzanne Schlicht, publisher and COO

Lisa Schlichtman, editor

Jim Patterson, assistant editor

Tom Ross, reporter

Diane Moore, community representative

Carl Steidtmann, community representative

At issue

On Dec. 8, Yampa Valley Gives day brought in donations totaling $463,879 for local nonprofits

Our view

This 24-hour giving event symbolizes this community’s generous spirit, which is often best displayed during the holiday season but lives on throughout the year

It’s the season of giving, and the residents of Yampa Valley proved their generosity this past week by raising $463,879 on Colorado Gives Day through the local Yampa Valley Gives program.

During one 24-hour period, this community’s philanthropic spirit took center stage with about 2,000 different donations made to more than 50 nonprofits in Routt and Moffat counties. The amount raised surpassed last year’s fundraising efforts by $80,000, and organizers are expecting the grand total to reach close to $500,000 once local and state incentive funding is added.

Our view

This 24-hour giving event symbolizes this community’s generous spirit, which is often best displayed during the holiday season but lives on throughout the year

At the Yampa Valley Gives event Tuesday night, representatives from participating nonprofits gathered together with community members and donors to watch the donations accumulate on a ticker displayed on a big-screen TV. The excitement was palatable, and it was inspiring to see these different nonprofits coming together with a shared vision.

It was a night focused completely on giving, and donors didn’t disappoint.

Emails alerted the nonprofits when donations were made, and the almost constant sound of “dinging” smartphones accompanied the live music and conversation. Whether the amount was $10 or $10,000, each donation was met with a big smile or cheer, and each gift seemed to matter to the individual nonprofits that were the beneficiaries.

Yampa Valley Gives is an annual campaign this community can be proud of, but we’re reminded at this time of year especially that Routt County’s generosity is not limited to one day of giving.

On Nov. 26, a record 812 people gathered together for the Routt County United Way’s annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner. This event is supported by volunteer servers and contributions of food, and after local United Way Director Kate Nowak reported food donations were lagging behind, the community rallied, and there was more than enough food for everyone who attended.

This successful event was followed Saturday by the organization’s Holiday Exchange Market, which served 170 local families in need and was staffed by more than 120 volunteers. The market was preceded by weeks of giving as community members and organizations gathered toys, coats, gloves, socks and gift cards, which were given away at the market.

Writer and cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has,” and those famous words ring true today in Routt County.

Despite issues that sometimes divide us politically, our community always comes together when it matters most. Giving to those less fortunate than ourselves has the power to unite us, and it is part of what makes this community such a great place to live. It’s who we are when we’re our best selves, and it’s at this time of year, when our generous hearts are most visible.

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