Routt County United Way: Continuing our community’s tradition of giving | SteamboatToday.com

Routt County United Way: Continuing our community’s tradition of giving

There have been numerous moments where we have taken a step back in awe and just observed the power of our community when we all join together to improve the lives of others. The Holiday Exchange Market was an overwhelming example of our "little" community's willingness to unite with the common goal of making a big difference this holiday season in the lives of our neighbors who may be experiencing poverty and harder times.

The outpouring of donations and selflessness of volunteers was tremendous. We are thrilled to know that more than 235 Routt County families and their children will have a more joyful holiday this year thanks to these wonderful donations and thanks to over 160 volunteers who helped set up the market and see that it ran smoothly on Dec. 16.

We owe a debt of gratitude to this entire community. In particular, some special thanks are due.

To start, a very big thank you to Colorado Mountain College for providing the facilities for the market. Without CMC, the market would not have a home. Thanks to Colorado Group Realty for not only providing the truck that allowed us to transport the many donations to the college but also for making a significant contribution that allowed us to purchase much of the warm clothing for the families.

Thank you to Debbie Aragon State Farm for storing the overwhelming amount of donations and sorting them. Big thank you to Integrated Community for providing the translation services for this event. Thank you to the Young Professionals Network and Steamboat Spring Fire and Rescue for spending three weekends collecting and organizing donations for the market, and to Walmart for hosting their collection efforts.

Thank you to the Heart of Steamboat Methodist Church, United Methodist Mission's Group, for their donations, volunteers and organizing efforts of the infamous mitten boards.

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Thank you to everyone who hosted the community mitten boards and collection boxes: Heart of Steamboat Methodist Church, Holy Name Catholic Church, St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Soda Creek Elementary, Strawberry Park Elementary, Soroco Elementary, Alpine Bank, Yampa Valley Bank, Wells Fargo Bank, Mountain Valley Bank, Vectra Bank, Bank of the West, Bank of San Juans, the Hayden Mercantile, South Routt Post Office, the Clark Store, Yampa Valley Medical Center, Wild Goose Coffee at the Granary, Mountain Eyeworks and Colorado Group Realty.

Another big thank you to SmartWool, which, in addition to hosting a Giving Tree, cut down and delivered 10 Christmas trees to families in need. Thank you to the following businesses that also helped make the market possible: Colorado Event Rentals (donated 28 large tables), Christy Sports (clothing racks), Waste Management (boxes for toy collection and gift wrap), Coca-Cola (beverages for Market volunteers).

We also greatly appreciate the many businesses and groups that collected donations from their members and employees and then delivered them to the market. Routt Powder Riders collected toys and volunteered, Steamboat Sotheby's hosted a hat drive and Northwest Colorado Center for Independence provided transportation.

Service clubs, young and old, participated in meaningful ways: Ski Town Lions Club contributed $2,000 to food cards and Rotary provided gift wrapping and volunteers. We had Girl Scouts, 4-H clubs, National Honor Society and Steamboat Springs Youth Hockey that participated, just to name a few youth clubs.

Finally, the Steamboat Springs Arts Council (volunteers and arts supplies) also contributed. We also thank Lynne Myers and Nancy Mucklow for providing food for the 160 volunteers. The food was donated by multiple volunteers, Freshies, Sweetwood Cattle Company, the Steamboat Springs High School Booster Club, CMC Culinary Class and Lil House Country Biscuit.

We so much appreciate the list of businesses, organizations, volunteers and donors that made the Holiday Exchange Market so successful.

Again, on behalf of the United Way board and staff, "thank you" to everyone who donated and volunteered to make the 2017 Holiday Exchange Market such a success. Every donation made, every volunteer hour worked, meant that one more family had a happier holiday this year.

With sincerest gratitude,

Kate Nowak, executive director, and Ali Schrader, program manager

Routt County United Way