Vail Valley Cares grant totals top $2 million |

Vail Valley Cares grant totals top $2 million

Randy Wyrick
Vail, CO Colorado
Dominique Taylor/

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – Vail Valley Cares has turned your used stuff into $2 million worth of good.

Now that’s recycling.

Their annual grant luncheon will see the organization give away $250,000 to 28 local direct-aid organizations.

They’ve handed out $2.1 million since they started doing this in 2000.

Never has second-hand stuff done so much for so many.

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“The goal is top give away $250,000 every year, and for the past four years we’ve made it,” said Greg Osteen, executive director of the Thrifty Shops.

Every dime the Thrifty Shops generate supports local charities – and they make lots of dimes. Vail Valley Cares will give away those dimes Thursday.

It’s a pretty simple business model: Your donated stuff comes in and the money goes out. Direct-aid organizations get it all, groups like the Salvation Army that directly help people who need it, Osteen said.

Vail Valley Cares is happy to be in a position to help, Osteen said.

“It’s still a tough economy and it’s challenging to raise money,” Osteen said. “Things have changed and I feel it’s getting a little bit better, but we’re still a real estate and tourism-based economy.”

And feel free to keep those donations coming, Osteen said.

“That is how we pay for these grants,” Osteen said.

People donate all kinds of stuff to the local Thrifty Shops, one in Edwards and one in Eagle. Their winter gear will be out soon.

“It all comes from our wonderful community,” Osteen said.

Vail Valley Cares has been at this since 1994 when the local Rotary Club helped them get started in their Edwards location.

Benny Clark was pastor of Trinity Church and president of the Rotary Club that year. Jerry Milsaps was a local minister working with him. Milsaps collected donations in his office – food, clothing, things people might need at a moment’s notice.

The thing is, though, Milsaps was pretty much blind and couldn’t see the piles piling up.

So they found some space down the hill from the church in Edwards, got a little financial help from the Rotary Club, rounded up some volunteers and were on their way. They opened the Eagle store a few years later, and built their Eagle building a few years after that.

Osteen came on board in 1998.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or

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