Thrift stores pay off |

Thrift stores pay off

Kathy Heicher/Special to the DailyKathy Heicher/EnterpriseMembers of the Vail Valley Cares Board and representatives of local non-profits gathered recently for the annual distribution of grant funds. In the far back are Rohn Robbins, Patty Burch, Mike Powell, Ronald Burch, and Joe Schmidt. The next row forward is Ethan Moore, David Wieder, Jeani Ducommun, Terry Smith, and Bev Christian. In the middle row are Ginny Zurman and daughter, Olivia Zurman, Alice Jaramillo, Cheryl Braucht, Fabiola Chavez, Ann Cathcart, Rachael Pinela, Karen Nulle, Paula Palmateer, Melissa Anderson, Debbie Webster, and Lin Grubbs. Kneeling in the front row are Dr. Randy Simmonds, Lauren Gueriera, CJ Gredig, Justin Martin, Martin Gonzalez and Greg Osteen.

EAGLE COUNTY – That $2 you spent on a shirt at the local Thrifty Shoppe is coming back to the community. Could be the money is helping to fund a local nonprofit that works with abused and neglected children or a scholarship for an academically struggling child to attend the Learning Camp program in Gypsum. The dollars could also be going to a pregnant teenager, the victims of domestic violence or toward the hospital bill for a local construction worker who had appendicitis and no insurance.For the fifth consecutive year, Vail Valley Cares, the ecumenical nonprofit that runs the Thrifty Shoppes second-hand stores, has handed out $105,250 in grants to 17 local non-profit organizations. Greg Osteen, director of Vail Valley Cares, estimates that over the past five years the organization has given out $675,000, all of which was raised at second-hand stores.For many of the recipients, the grant funds were what will keep their organizations going throughout the next year.”This will help all three of our programs,” said Bev Christiansen, of the Resource Center, which found itself somewhat short of funding this year. The Resource Center runs: the Buddies program, which teams up local kids in need of mentors with local adults; Freedom Ranch women’s shelter; and the Advocates Against Assault organization, a 24-hour a day crisis response group.

“It’s great to be able to provide for the community … we could tell such stories about the people we have worked with,” said Dr. Randy Simmons, chairman of the Vail Valley Cares Board.Osteen credited the Thrifty Shoppes’ success to the generosity of the local community, noting that the Thrifty Shoppes recycle good items for a good cause.The organizations receiving grants from Vail Valley Cares this year are as follows:• CASA of the Continental Divide. This organization supports court-appointed, special advocates who work with abused and neglected children in Eagle and Lake counties.• Catholic Charities. Established in the valley for several years now, Catholic Charities has a paid staff member who acts as an advocate for immigrants.• Colorado West Mental Health. This l organization offers mental health counseling, including 13 substance abuse programs.• Cornerstone Pregnancy Resource Center. The Leadville-based group offers counseling and referrals to women with crisis pregnancies. Many of the clients are younger women.

• Lake County Build a Generation. Money will be used to fund a variety of youth programs.• The Learning Camp. Summer program which offers academic tutoring to children in a camp-style setting on Spring Creek, south of Gypsum. Director Ann Cathcart said the grant money will fund 13 scholarships for local children.• LIFT-UP. Garfield County organization runs a soup kitchen and five food pantries.• Meet the Wilderness. Local youth education program uses outdoor adventures to teach young people how to become a part of their community.• Red Ribbon Project. Headed by Paula Palmateer, this organization offers HIV and AIDS education to local schools, grades seven through 12. The Red Ribbon Project also offers free HIV testing several times a year; or will help pay for emergency testing.• Samaritan Center for the Rockies. For nine years, this organization has been offering counseling for people in the valley.• Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program. Based in Garfield County at Valley View Hospital, the nurses in this program examine sexual assault victims.

• Young Life. High country youth Christian group.• Vail Valley Charitable Fund. In nine years, this organization has given away about $4 million to people in crisis to help with medical bills, housing and other costs. • Grand County Council on Aging.• Samaritan Ministries. Functions much like Vail Valley Cares, providing vouchers to needy people.• Aloha House. Money will go to support an orphanage in the Philippines.Vail, Colorado

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