Vail Valley Cares distributes $309,000 in Thrifty Shops proceeds to 36 local nonprofit groups |

Vail Valley Cares distributes $309,000 in Thrifty Shops proceeds to 36 local nonprofit groups

The group lines up for a photo for the Vail Valley Cares Grand Breakfast on Thursday, Aug. 9, in Avon.
Chris Dillmann |

The Grant recipients

• 4 Eagle Senior’s Care

• Bright Future Foundation

• CASA of the Continental Divide

• Catholic Charities

• Children’s Garden of learning

• Colorado Mountain College scholarship program

• Eagle County Schools Transition to Life 18-21

• Eagle River Youth Coalition

• Eagle Valley Family Assistance Fund

• Eagle Valley Senior Life

• Early Childhood Partners

• Education Foundation of Eagle County

• Family Learning Center

• HomeCare & Hospice of the Valley

• InteGreat

• Loaves and Fishes

• Mind Springs Health

• Mountain Tots Preschool

• Mountain Valley Horse Rescue

• Red Canyon High School

• Red Ribbon Project

• Roundup River Ranch

• Small Champions Inc.

• SOS Outreach

• Speak Up Reach Out

• Swift Eagle Charitable Foundation

• The Cycle Effect

• The Literacy Project

• The Samaritan Center of the Rockies

• Vail Valley Charitable Fund

• Vail Valley Salvation Army

• Vail Soccer Club

• Vail Valley Young Life

• Vail Veterans’ Foundation

• Western Council Boy Scouts

• YouthPower365

AVON — Greg Osteen says the Vail Valley Cares Thrifty Shops’ annual grant recipient breakfast is the best day of the year.

Representatives from 36 local nonprofits are inclined to agree, especially this year because the organization divvied up $309,000.

That money is generated at the Thrifty Shops in Edwards and Eagle, where locals donate stuff they don’t need and shop for stuff they do.

Vail Valley Cares Director Osteen shared the podium with Vail Valley Cares Board Member Jeff Apps during the gathering on Thursday, Aug. 9, at Eagle River Presbyterian Church in Avon. As the duo handed out checks, the nonprofit representatives shared stories about how their work touches lives throughout the valley. They were effusive in their thanks for the donations from Vail Valley Cares and the work of the Thrifty Shop employees.

“Our goal with Vail Valley Cares has always been to lift up the community,” Osteen said.

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Kids, seniors, horses and more

The 36 nonprofits that received grant money from Vail Valley Cares this week span a wide array of services offered valleywide.

“If you can’t solve the problem with the people in this room, I want to know what that problem is,” Apps said.

Thirty-six individual stories bore out that assessment, at times bringing tears to people’s eyes.

Marian McDonough, of Catholic Charities, talked about how the organization recently worked with a local family on a wage theft issue. During the course of that effort, the organization also learned the family had a mold problem in their home. Catholic Charities was able to help work out both issues and even purchased new (used) bedding for the family at the Thrifty Shop.

Dr. Jack Eck accepted the donation on behalf of Home Care and Hospice of the Valley.

“It’s not easy work, but it is a labor of love and caring,” he noted.

“We are in the kid inspiration business,” said Chris John, of Western Colorado Councils of the Boy Scouts of America. John noted it takes time, energy and money to run youth programs, and donations from Vail Valley Cares are critical for the organization.

“It is so uplifting to see the work that everyone is doing,” said Melissa Rewold Thuon, of YouthPower365. She said the organization works with 4,000 individual youth in the community and also with many of the other nonprofits in the valley.

“Together we make this community a much better place,” she said.

Tissues at the ready

At the onset of the presentations, Apps joked that there was a box of tissues at the podium specifically for the nonprofit representatives who may become choked up while offering their stories. Specifically, he said the tissues were at the ready for the Mountain Valley Horse Rescue people, and Shana Devins from that organization didn’t disappoint.

Devins talked about Jackie, a one-eyed riding horse that is the program’s signature equine. When Jackie arrived, she was emaciated and lice-ridden. Today, children ride her as part of the organization’s summer camp activities. This summer, one local 8-year-old was particularly smitten with Jackie. The little girl was supposed to be learning how to lead a horse, but she kept looking back at Jackie instead of looking forward so she could lead the horse.

“When the camp counselor told her she needed to be looking ahead, not behind, the little girl said ‘Horses are my favorite thing in the whole world and she is so beautiful I just can’t stop looking at her,’” Devins said.

Thrifty Stylin’

In a special salute to Vail Valley Cares, the breakfast invitation urged everyone to wear clothing purchased from the Thrifty Shops, with a special prize going to the best dressed recipient.

Lindsay Simmons, of The Family Learning Center, was the runaway winner in rainbow-colored ensemble that included a feather boa and a clip-on tie.

“I am going to dress like this more often. It makes people smile,” she said.

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