Our View: A good time to dig deep | SteamboatToday.com

Our View: A good time to dig deep

With no clear indication the economic slide that has devastated many families here in Routt County is coming to an end, it's as important as ever that residents and businesses that can afford to do so donate to local health and human service organizations.

In Routt County, one of the best ways to make an impact with your charitable dollars is through the local chapter of United Way, which serves as an umbrella organization for 40 health and human service nonprofit agencies. Routt County United Way kicked off its annual fundraising campaign last week with an enormously successful $10K Day for United Way in partnership with Yampa Valley Bank. More than $45,000 was raised Thursday, but that's just a small dent in the group's total fundraising goal of $510,000.

For those skeptical of the need for financial contributions to United Way and its affiliated organizations, consider the following:

■ Routt County experienced a 53 percent increase in the number of households receiving food assistance from January 2009 to December 2010.

■ LIFT-UP of Routt County dispensed 2,226 bags of groceries to needy families in 2006; last year the total shot up to 11,217 bags.

■ There was a 169 percent increase in emergency housing assistance from 2007 to 2010.

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■ The number of households receiving assistance with utility payments from LIFT-UP went up 73 percent from 2007 to 2010.

■ Incidents of domestic violence and suicide have increased during the past several years.

■ The county's unemployment rate has nearly quadrupled during the past four years.

The impact of the economic recession at all levels of government and throughout the business and nonprofit worlds has left fewer available funds for the organizations that need it most — those that serve the neediest members of society.

We have many wonderful nonprofit groups in Routt County whose mission is to help community members in need. As another long, cold winter approaches, we urge residents and businesses to dig deep into their pockets and consider donating to United Way's annual fundraising campaign or to any locally based nonprofit organization that tackles health and human service issues.

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