EAGLE-VAIL — It’s better to give than receive, and it’s also more fun if you’re Vail Valley Cares.
Vail Valley Cares hosted its 14th annual grant giveaway day Thursday. This year, they gave away $250,000, about the same amount they’ve given away the past few years. But the bigger picture is that this year’s grants pushed them over $2.7 million in grants over those 14 years.
“This is our favorite day of the year,” said Greg Osteen, director of Vail Valley Cares and the Thrifty Shops.
“Not bad for a couple Thrifty Shops,” Osteen said.
Vail Valley Cares’ two thrift shops are located in Edwards and Eagle.
This year, Vail Valley Cares added five college scholarships. It’s for adults, mostly, “people who are reinventing themselves,” said Jeff Apps, outgoing president of the Vail Valley Cares board.
Dozens of good-hearted people packed a room at the Eagle River Presbyterian Church, getting a helping hand from Vail Valley Cares that they’ll extend to the rest of the community.
• Tim Wilbanks and the Samaritan Center provide mental and emotional help.“About half the people who come into the Samaritan Center can’t pay for the services. You just did,” Wilbanks said.
• Hospice of the Valley provides end-of-life care in the valley. They never say “no” because someone can’t pay or if their insurance won’t cover all the costs, said Mike Brown, of Alpine Bank and the hospice board. The grant helps pay for it.
• The Eagle Valley Family Assistance Fund has loaned more than $1 million, $5,000 at a time, thanks, in part to grants from Vail Valley Cares, said Paul Wible, FirstBank.
• The Red Ribbon Project is branching out to work with kids facing issues like online safety, bullying and substance abuse, said Denise Kipp, executive director. For example, just this year they saw four boys opt for an eight-week program instead of four consecutive Saturdays in detention.
• Shana Devins runs Mountain Valley Horse Rescue, and they’re rescuing much more than horses. They have all kinds of volunteers and always need more, of course. Many are teenagers, but one is a six-year Iraq/Afghanistan combat veteran battling post-traumatic stress disorder. His is winning that battle because of the work he does with horses, Davis said.
• The Loaves and Fishes Café gives people a free hot meal every Wednesday evening at Eagle River Presbyterian Church.
“When someone comes through the line and says, ‘If it hadn’t been for this I would not have had anything to eat today,’ it makes it all worth it,” said Martha Petrie.
• Melisa Rewold-Thuon runs the Vail Valley Youth Foundation. They touch 3,800 kids per year, from birth to college.
• Young Life, a Christian-based youth organization, has been so successful that it is using the Vail Valley Cares grant to hire a new staff member.
• Tsu Wolin-Brown and the Vail Valley Salvation Army. They help about 500 families with things like food, rent and other expenses that help get them to the end of the month. They’ll use the grant money to buy Christmas presents for kids who probably wouldn’t get any.
• Eagle County Smiles provides dental care for local kids younger than 18 who don’t have any other way to get it, said Michelle Maloney, who helps run the program.
About Vail Valley Cares
Vail Valley Cares and its Thrifty Shops are a local nonprofit Christian help organization dedicated to sharing the love of God by meeting people’s needs. Profits generated by the Thrifty Shops are reinvested directly to local non-profit organizations in Eagle County through grant and scholarship programs.
The Vail Valley Cares board is Apps, Anne Breckheimer, Laurie Mullen, Ethan Moore, Rivers Jardis, Karen Nulle, Tommy Schneider, Rob Wilson, and Larry Dutmer.