United Way progressing toward goal

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— Because Routt County residents exceeded the United Way fund-raising campaign's $250,000 goal by $28,000 last year, some $13,000 has been donated through special needs grants, United Way Executive Director Millie Beall said.

The last chance for individuals and not-for-profit agencies to receive extra money from United Way was the first week of October; this month, 10 organizations received the additional requested funds because of the generosity of the county's businesses and individuals last year.

Three times a year, funds that have exceeded Routt County's goal for the United Way campaign are distributed to local organizations and individuals who express a need for a special grant and additional monies. In both April and July, $1,000 was allocated to local agencies, while $11,000 was available for special needs grants this month.

United Way always budgets $3,000 a year for these grants, but the surplus of funds last year allowed for a hefty total this year, Beall said.

LIFT-UP was one of the 10 local agencies that requested additional funds for its special needs. The organization received $1,200 to pay utility costs associated with expanding services at the South Routt Food Bank.

"There are a lot of individuals from south Routt who have been in need of LIFT-UP's food services but who have had to spend exorbitant amounts of money on gas to get to Steamboat," LIFT-UP Executive Director David Freseman said.

Freseman wanted to be able to have a new LIFT-UP site in Oak Creek be more visible, more accessible and with regularly scheduled hours to serve more conveniently those who need assistance in Oak Creek and nearby communities.

LIFT-UP moved into the old town hall at 131 E. Main St. on Oct. 1, and the new Food Bank opened for use Oct. 5. It's open from 9 a.m. to noon.

In the meantime, $27,500 already has been donated to United Way for the 2000-2001 campaign. That's 10 percent of the $275,000 goal, and Beall expects to move the barometer gauge up to the 20 percent mark by next week.

Funds already contributed this year have come from individuals, Seneca Coal, and the Steamboat Springs School District.

"I'm currently making presentations to committees and have sent out hundreds of letters, with the help of local seniors headed up by Ray Faulkner," Beall said. "The word is out, and I'm asking companies and organizations to let me come in and make a presentation to their staff about contributions to United Way."

For the most part, Beall believes, everybody in Routt County has a family member or a friend who, at one time, has used the services of one of United Way's agencies.

"It's nice for us to be able to give back to those agencies at a time when we're comfortable in our lives."

To reach Bonnie Nadzam call 871-4204 or e-mail bnadzam@amigo.net

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