Vail Valley: The needy need you now
Talking with a friend the other day, I couldn’t help but be sympathetic. Business is down significantly, so plans for a new car, a vacation in Europe this year and tuition for his son at a private university are not going to happen. For someone who has worked hard his entire career and is used to steady, upward success and the ability to pretty much spend as he sees fit, it’s a major change. But my sympathy could only go so far. We’re all making sacrifices these days, some a lot more than others. That’s obvious when you consider the current plight of the Salvation Army’s food pantry here in Eagle County. Dan Smith, the organization’s chairman of the board, filled me in at our mixer last week. As background: The Salvation Army’s food pantry, located in their offices next to Trinity Baptist Church in Edwards, provides food at no charge to individuals and families who need help. Hunger isn’t something you can conveniently disregard or forestall like a planned purchase. Currently, the pantry is not only helping about 100 families each month, but it’s also supplying some of the food to satellite pantries in Eagle at the United Methodist Church and in Vail at the Vail Chapel. Even though food donations have continued to come in and have even increased due to the current economic situation, demand for food has increased to the extent that the staff still has to purchase $300 to $400 of food each week to keep up with demand, a situation that’s barely sustainable in the short term and certainly not sustainable for long. Dan and I are asking for your help. It’s not enough that the Partnership places food bins at the door at our mixers. It’s not enough that we applaud the volunteer and staff efforts and ring bells at Christmas. It’s only going to be enough when the pantry is full, all the time.Please help today. Almost any non-perishable food items can be contributed. Canned vegetables, soups, and tuna are staples, as are rice, pasta and macaroni and cheese. The pantry also provides a large amount of diapers to families in need. In the past, they have distributed a pallet-sized donation of soup donated by local grocers and once, a couple pallets of matzo crackers at Thanksgiving. Many people think of giving at the holidays and the pantry’s donations often peak then, when a number of local food drives provide both food and cash. Unfortunately, need knows no season and demands on the pantry continue year ’round. You should know too, that in addition to providing food, the Vail Salvation Army provides emergency financial assistance to families needing help with things like rent, utilities, automobile repairs and medical expenses. That assistance is running about $5,000 per week. The caseload has grown from 50 or so a month to more than 200. I know you get the point, but one more thing. All the assistance the Salvation Army provides comes from people in the Vail Valley and goes back to people in the valley – the donations you make here, stay here.To find our more, or to get involved as a volunteer, donor or company sponsor, go to http://www.salvationarmyvail.org. And please, don’t wait. The situation is very serious. No one in Eagle County wants to see a bare cupboard.Event update:• June 25, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.: Platinum Service Program Awards Annual Luncheon, Beaver Creek Chophouse.• June 26, 9 a.m. – noon: Non-Profit Network Seminar: Fundraising in tough economic times. This is a members-only event, held at the Vail Valley Partnership offices, Traer Creek Plaza, Avon. RSVP to Ruth Carlson, events coordinator, 970-477-4001 or firstname.lastname@example.org. • July 15, 5 – 7 p.m.: Business After Hours Mixer, Zacca Za!, Avon. This is a members-only event.• July 30, 8 – 11:30 a.m.: 2009 Vail Valley Business Forum, Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa, Avon. To RSVP or for more information, contact Ruthie Carlson, 970-477-4001 or email@example.com for tickets.