Local employers, nonprofits helping struggling, weather-shackled workers in the Vail Valley | VailDaily.com

Local employers, nonprofits helping struggling, weather-shackled workers in the Vail Valley

Kenneth Zakzesky chips away snow at Lower Beaver Creek Express on Monday, Dec. 12, in Beaver Creek. Mountain Operations are working to get more terrain open despite a lack of natural snow. Some seasonal workers are having a tough time making ends meet, with the lack of snow restricting their hours.

VAIL — We live in a ski resort community, and that makes us snow farmers. When the crop doesn't come in — and it hasn't yet this season — we're all in this together.

Vail Resorts and other local employers bring in workers from almost every corner of God's green Earth. When this corner of God's green Earth remains green instead of snow white, those folks need a little extra help, like something to eat, for instance.

"Both Vail Mountain and Beaver Creek Resort have expanded their pre-existing employee programs to include additional employee dinners and will continue to evaluate the situation and add more meals, as needed," said Sally Gunter, senior communications manager for Vail and Beaver Creek.

Along with Vail, Aspen Skiing Co. has set up a soup kitchen for its employees who haven't been able to work yet because of low-snow conditions.

"As long as we can't get those guys fully employed, we'll keep feeding them," Jeff Hanle, vice president of communications, told The Aspen Times. "It's meant for workers who would be starting full time but they're not able to."

In Vail, some of the meals are complimentary for employees, some cost a relative pittance. Vail serves a weekly $3 employee dinner that is prepared and served by a different on-mountain location, Gunter said.

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"Most departments have been paying for their line-level employees to attend for free," Gunter said. "In expanding the program, Vail will be offering some form of employee dinner six nights this week."

On Thursday, Dec. 14, the resort will also host its monthly Epic Service breakfast for employees who have provided an experience of a lifetime for guests and have been recognized by a guest, co-worker or manager. In addition, many of Vail's departments have used their employee relations budgets to offer "care packages" with food for employees, Gunter said.

Beaver Creek's Feed the Beav' program, a $3 employee dinner, has also expanded and will include two additional dates for complimentary meals prior to the holidays, Gunter said.

Charities step up, as snow doesn't come down

Local charities are also stepping up, as snow refuses to come down.

A couple of seasonal workers have cut their losses and left town. Along with weather related work issues, another worker's credit cards and checking accounts got hacked, said Tsu Wolin-Brown, Vail Valley Salvation Army coordinator.

One seasonal hand spotted a flier that directs people to the Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army food bank is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday.

"They're always welcome to come get food," said Karely Duran Ruiz, with the Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army has had an average of five people per day asking for rental assistance because they're not getting enough hours so pay their bills, said Tsu Wolin-Brown, Salvation Army coordinator.

The Salvation Army does not have the resources for rental assistance but can refer you to the Family Assistance Fund, which might.

Vail Valley Cares is not seeing an uptick in resort workers asking for help, but they're also not seeing the annual influx of people rolling in to buy beds, furniture or jacket and skis or snowboards. Generally, those are the restaurant and retail workers.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

Some places to get help

• The Salvation Army food bank is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday at 322 East Beaver Creek Blvd. in Avon (behind City Market and Wells Fargo, in front of the Beaver Creek Rodeo Lot). Call 970-748-0704, or email info@salvationarmyvail.org.

• The Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration in the Edwards Interfaith Chapel serves dinner at 6 p.m. Sundays, right after church at 5 p.m., and is located at 32138 U.S. Highway 6 in Edwards. Call 970-476-0618.

• Calvary Chapel Vail Valley does dinner Sundays at 5 p.m., followed by church at 6 p.m. They’re at the Vail Christian High School campus, 31621 Highway 6 in Edwards. Call 970-926-3380.

• On Mondays, the United Methodist Church of Eagle Valley hosts a Simple Supper. It’s at 6 p.m., and the Methodists also run a food pantry. They’re at 333 Second St. in Eagle. Call 970-328-6598.

• Eagle River Presbyterian Church hosts a free community dinner, their Loaves and Fishes Cafe, at 455 Nottingham Ranch Road in Avon. It’s at 6 p.m. every Wednesday. Email office@erpc.org or Steve Mosley at admin@loavesandfishesavon.com or visit loavesandfishesavon.com. Call 970-748-0040.

• The Food Bank of the Rockies pulls a truck up to the Edwards Interfaith Chapel the first Thursday of every month. Get there early. It’s usually gone by 2 p.m.