Victor Medina, left, and his brother Ron Medina, right, led a food drive at the Sidney Peak Ranch after being inspired by efforts at the Steamboat Christian Center’s drive to raise a ton of food for LIFT-UP of Routt County.

File photo

Victor Medina, left, and his brother Ron Medina, right, led a food drive at the Sidney Peak Ranch after being inspired by efforts at the Steamboat Christian Center’s drive to raise a ton of food for LIFT-UP of Routt County.

10K for United Way a success in Steamboat

Effort 1 of many benefiting local agencies as demand rises

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How to help

■ Routt County United Way’s annual fundraising campaign ends Sunday. To donate, go to www.unitedwayroutt.org and choose the “Click here” link next to “Give now!” toward the bottom of the page. Donations also can be mailed to Routt County United Way at P.O. Box 774005, Steamboat Springs, CO 80477, or dropped by its office at 1125 Lincoln Ave., suites 2F and 2G. For more information, call United Way at 879-5605.

■ The LIFT-UP Food Bank at 2125 Curve Court in Steamboat Springs always is accepting donations of nonperishable food and personal items and can never have enough staples such as tuna, peanut butter, rice and pasta, said Pam Graham, food bank and case manager.

LIFT-UP doesn’t have many upcoming food drives on its radar, she said, though many organizations hold drives and bring the food in without advance notice. Local bluegrass band Cornbread will play a food drive concert at 7 p.m. Nov. 21 at The Mugshot in Oak Creek; admission is a food donation for LIFT-UP.

LIFT-UP also operates food banks in Oak Creek and Hayden. For more information, call 870-8804 or go to the LIFT-UP page at http://yampavalley.info.

— Routt County United Way is heading toward hitting the halfway mark of a $525,000 fundraising goal for its fall campaign.

On its second “10K for Uni­ted Way” one-day push Tuesday, the umbrella fundraising group for health and human services agencies in Routt County raised $10,009.

That amount — just over the organization’s goal to raise $10,000 in donations and corporate contributions centered on a three-hour live radio remote by KBCR 96.9 FM Tuesday at Qdoba Mexican Grill — brings the 10K for United Way fundraising total to $39,671. The total includes proceeds from a similar Oct. 6 event at Space Station.

To Kelly Stanford, executive director of Routt County United Way, the numbers signal success.

“This year, one of our goals has been the communication to everyone in the community that it really does take every kind of donation, large and small,” Stanford said.

“We believe that every resident of Routt County has a responsibility to help support and maintain these programs that are so vital to people, especially during the recession. So the message of this campaign has been we need everyone to participate as best they can.”

The 10K for United Way effort brings the total to $220,717 for this year’s campaign; that’s 42 percent of the group’s $525,000 goal.

United Way passes the money it raises on to more than 40 health and human services agencies in Routt County during its annual allocation process. Need from those agencies — which include Advocates Building Peaceful Communi­ties, LIFT-UP of Routt County, First Impressions, Yampa Valley Autism Program and Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association — has increased, Stanford said.

United Way rounds up the main push of its campaign Sunday, though donations are accepted year-round. United Way is ahead of its collection pace from 2008 — the 42 percent of its goal shown on a fundraising thermometer on the Routt County Courthouse lawn is well above the 19.5 percent, or $117,000, of a $600,000 goal represented at this time last year.

Individual donations and workplace giving are the main two components of the campaign drive. Stanford said she expects to see an increase in the total when some larger local offices hold their annual workplace giving events in the coming weeks.

Several organizations and businesses offered matching donations in the 10K for United Way drives: The Rotary Club of Steamboat Springs matched $5,000 donated Oct. 6, and the Kiwanis Club of Steamboat Springs, the Law Office of Cheryl Hardy-Moore and James J. Moylan and Associates matched $1,500 in Tuesday’s drive.

Food drives stock LIFT-UP

Several local groups conducting large-scale food drives in October and early November have helped give the LIFT-UP Food Bank a solid start to the holidays and winter season.

An effort by Steamboat Christian Center to collect a ton of food, a push by Ron and Victor Medina to bring in 1,000 pounds and other drives have assured supply through the beginning of 2010, said Pam Graham, food bank and case manager for LIFT-UP.

The Medina broth­­ers dropped off three large water troughs full of food, and Steam­­boat Christ­­ian Center ended up gathering 7,856 pounds of supplies, almost four times its original goal.

“What the food drives do is they assure that we’ve got plenty of food. … Every can they bring in is a can we don’t have to purchase. While we do have some grant money to purchase food, it only goes so far,” Graham said.

LIFT-UP measures its food bank intake and output by the plastic grocery store bag. Each full bag weighs about 14 pounds. LIFT-UP gave out about 1,200 bags in January, its peak winter month, Graham said. The agency gave out about 850 in October, the most recent month available, she said. The agency gives out an average of 1,000 bags a month.

In addition to food drives, the food bank receives perishable foods from local markets three times a week; uses grant money for food purchases; and uses LIFT-UP Thrift Store proceeds to buy discounted items from Food Bank of the Rockies. Individuals also donate food items and money to help stock the bank.

“Right now, we do have more than is going to go out the door by the end of the week. So it will carry us through the first of the year after the food drives taper off,” Graham said. Need levels are about the same now as they were this time last year, she said.

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