Steamboat Springs When representatives from Hospice of Steamboat came to Amallama in April to buy sheepskins to comfort their terminally ill patients, the owners of the store didn't just think the group should not have to pay for the items. Now the store owners have 55 donation jars waiting to be placed at businesses to help pay for the sheepskins along with other big plans to help out senior citizens in the community.
"We said, 'You're a nonprofit and you guys shouldn't have to pay for these,'" store owner Tara Stroman said.
Hospice needs about 40 sheepskins a year for its patients. The skins are ideal for preventing bedsores. They also absorb moisture and gently moisturize the skin of the user.
The store owners Stroman, her husband, Larry, and Cindy Patten decided to donate $2 from each sale of the $58 sheepskins to buy other sheepskins for Hospice. They also encourage customers to donate to the cause.
"It's been real interesting that our customers have been inspired by this," Stroman said.
The first day the drive began, the store collected enough money through sales and donations to buy one sheepskin at wholesale price. Now the store is expanding the idea, creating the Comfort Care Fund to raise more money to buy sheepskins for those who need them.
Patten is asking local merchants to put a donation jar at their checkout counters for the fund.
One of the first store owners to buy into the fund-raising campaign is Amallama's one sheepskin competitor in town, Overland Fine Sheepskins and Leather.
Christine Lee, Overland's owner, is taking care of her 80-year-old father at home and knows the need is out there. She said this experience has taught her the community should be looking for ways to give back to an age group that is often forgotten about in the community.
"Those are the people who helped us get where we are today," Lee said.
Lee has a jar at her store and is helping contact other businesses about the fund.
Along with the donation jars, the group also wants to convince local merchants to donate a small percentage of their sales on Memorial Day to the fund.
Furthermore, the sheepskin distributor Amallama goes through will circulate a newsletter to 1,500 of its customers informing them about the fund in hopes of generating more interest.
If the fund generates enough money, Stroman said they would like to expand to help out as many people as they can.
"What I'm going for is that I think the retailers can be generous and compassionate," Stroman said.
The literature for the fund states that it is sponsored by "businesses for a generous, compassionate community." Stroman can be reached at 879-8071.