Vail Valley Scenery column: Salvation Army helps feed Eagle County through proceeds from golf tournament | VailDaily.com

Vail Valley Scenery column: Salvation Army helps feed Eagle County through proceeds from golf tournament

Carolyn Pope
Vail Valley Scenery

Do you know which organization in town helps everyone from stranded motorists to people who have lost their jobs and need to feed their families?

If I say Red Kettle and bell ringer, perhaps that gives you a clue.

The Salvation Army has been around for almost 34 years in our valley. Working within a very lean budget of only $500,000 per year, it is exceptional in what it gives back. The Vail Valley Salvation Army has only two full-time employees but provides more than $300,000 to the community.

"Our building is donated, so we pay only maintenance, utilities, salaries and supplies. We provide emergency transportation, food, emergency prescriptions and more. We are a safety net," executive director Tsu Wolin-Brown said.

Recently, the Vail Valley Salvation Army held its second-biggest fundraiser (the holiday bell ringing is the No. 1 source of funds), its annual Red Kettle Golf Tournament at Frost Creek Country Club. The sold-out event featured a silent auction, the opportunity to buy mulligans to enhance the teams' final scores and prizes for longest drive, won by Eric Brown, closest to the pin, taken by Julia Wallace, and the winning team of Josh Andreason, Hans Herner and Eric and Harrison Brown.

"The proceeds from the tournament help to feed more than 500 families and individuals each month, right here in Eagle County," said Anne Barnett, who co-chaired the event with Carla Guarascio and Jana Morgan. "Individuals and families seeking food assistance receive up to two boxes of food per month. These boxes are very basic and include nutritious staples such as green beans, rice, cereal and peanut butter.

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"Additionally, the Salvation Army assists with heating bills and other emergency needs for our local families. Assistance is awarded only to those that can prove sustainability after receiving the assistance."

The "Miracle Minute" gives players the opportunity to throw whatever they have in their pockets into a red kettle, from change to checks. The one-minute donating frenzy netted an additional $1,400. Vail Resorts generously sponsored the event.

"Mike Gibbs, the general manager of Frost Creek, ran back into his office to get money to throw in," co-chair Jana Morgan said. "The staff was throwing in anything they had, even putting their tip money in the pot. I was very humbled."

Frost Creek has already stepped up to host the event again next year on Sept. 6, the first Wednesday after Labor Day.

Salvation Army is always in need of donations, as well as volunteers to help in its food pantry or helping unloading the food trucks that arrive. Visit http://www.salvationarmyvail.org or send an email to Wolin-Brown at tsu@salvationarmyvail.org.

Carolyn Pope has covered community service events and nonprofit activities since 2001 and co-authored "The Women of Vail." She can be reached at 970-390-9913.