Holiday help overflowing for those in need in Grand County |

Holiday help overflowing for those in need in Grand County

For many residents in Grand County, Christmas falls on a hard time of the year, after seasonal layoffs have taken place and extra money from summer jobs is dried up by the county’s high cost of living.

In the true spirit of the holidays, county residents have the unique opportunity to help each other and receive help if they need it through the Mountain Family Center’s annual Christmas Holiday Project. The project, which has been running for at least 20 years, brings the holiday spirit to life in Grand County matching in-need families with an overflowing base of willing donors this year.

The center has already begun taking applications from families who may need help gathering Christmas gifts and putting on those holiday feasts. Its project is also available to assist families in transition, including those who have recently moved to the county or who have experienced an unexpected financial setback.

The Mountain Family Center finds out about these families in several ways. Some families apply for the assistance directly through the center. The center also inquires with other assistance agencies throughout the county to see if they know of any families who may need assistance.

Once all the applications are in, the center reviews them to make sure the families applying have a genuine need. But the program isn’t just limited to families, households that have a group of young adults can receive assistance as well. Those recipients receive food vouchers and food, but not gifts which are included in the family packages.

Once the list of applicants has been checked twice, the center starts to match applicants with sponsors. And there’s already been an incredible sponsor list compiled this year, said Jill Korkowski, Mountain Family Center executive director.

“The community support has been incredible,” she said. In fact, Korkowski said the number of sponsors almost always exceeds the number of those in need who’ve applied ” a good reflection of the holiday spirit in Grand County.

Sponsors and sponsor families get a list of gift ideas and needs for the holidays and they happily go out and buy the gifts, wrap them and have them ready to be picked up by the applicants.

The families and sponsors are matched by a numerical system that guarantees anonymity for both parties. That way the donors give in the true spirit of the holiday season, without recognition.

The positive aspects of this program abound. It’s a win-win situation. Since the recipients do not receive cash, the donors know exactly how their money will be used. They also know that their money and good will is going right back into the community.

Those who do not have the energy or motivation to buy a gift or wrap it may make a monetary donation, which the center uses to purchase the gifts, wrap them, and make sure the gifts purchased with those funds are matched to an appropriate recipient.

For those who wish to express their generous holiday spirit this year, and especially for those who may just need a little bit of help to get into the spirit, the Mountain Family Center’s Christmas Project is waiting for your call to (970) 725-3257.

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