Routt County United Way to shine spotlight on local poverty |

Routt County United Way to shine spotlight on local poverty

Routt County United Way is initiating 31 Days of Poverty this July.

— According to a self-sufficiency standard developed by the Colorado Center on Law and Policy, it takes about $92,000 a year for a family with two young children to get by in Steamboat Springs.

The standard doesn't include trips to the coffee shop, recreation equipment or a spring break vacation, only basic expenses like housing, childcare, food and transportation.

"It does take a lot to live here," said Kate Nowak, executive director of Routt County United Way, who regularly sees the effects of the high cost of living firsthand. "It is a problem in our county."

To raise awareness about the many Routt County families living well below the self-sufficiency standard, Routt County United Way is initiating "31 Days of Poverty" during the month of July.

A documentary screening, early morning discussions on poverty and a tour of the county's revamped LiftUp of Routt County food bank will take place in July, all aimed at showing how pervasive poverty is in the area and exploring solutions.

"These folks are your neighbors, they're working beside you, they're serving you, they're cleaning your hotel room or doing your landscaping," Nowak said. "I want everyone to care about their neighbors."

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Routt County United Way will also share daily poverty facts on Facebook at

Events begin with a Coffee and a Newspaper discussion from 7:30 to 9 a.m. Wednesday, July 6 at the Steamboat Pilot & Today.

On Wednesday, July 13, United Way will host a screening of "Poverty, Inc., Fighting Poverty is Big Business, but Who Profits Most," a documentary about the multi-billion dollar poverty aid industry and its effect on developing countries.

The free screening takes place at Library Hall and will be followed by a panel discussion.

At 8 a.m. Thursday, July 14, community members can meet with Boys & Girls Club of Steamboat Springs Executive Director Dana Duran at the club for coffee and a discussion on the effects of toxic stress on children and the club's efforts to mitigate stress.

Next, at 8 a.m. Wednesday, July 20, the community can have coffee at the United Way office with members of the county's Routt to Work team, to learn how the public-nonprofit partnership works to help citizens in poverty achieve self-sufficiency.

Lastly from 10 to 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, July 26, community members can tour the new LiftUp of Routt County food bank and meet with Executive Director Laura von Boecklin.

The food bank gives out thousands of pounds of food to those in need each year.

Nowak said she hopes the events will help people understand that poverty does exist in Routt County.

"It seems in the community, there's not an awareness that there's a lot of struggling people here," Nowak said. "It is a problem in our county, and there are things being done to help those folks."

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

If you go:

What: Coffee and a Newspaper with Routt County United Way and LiftUp of Routt County

When: 7:30 to 9 a.m., Wednesday July 6

Where: Steamboat Pilot & Today, 1901 Curve Plaza