This year’s Red Kettle Campaign is done. It was a tough year and our thanks to everyone who helped. We are not aware of any bell ringer who got frostbite or who was blown over, although there were close calls. Volunteer bell ringers rang for 240 hours over 18 days and many volunteers rang the bell for multiple shifts. In years past, we rang for almost 400 hours and in five locations. Dollar General was kind enough to let us use their lobby this year and we set up a kettle there instead of at the post office.
The Salvation Army’s brand is “Doing the Most Good, ” and the local Estes Park Extension Unit strives to follow that. Even though the Red Kettles have been put back into storage, you can still mail a check to P. O. Box 172 in Estes Park. Our goal is $40,000 and we will have a report on the total next week.
Most of the year your local Estes Park Extension Unit is a quiet bunch and you probably won’t see us until you need us. This is what we do with the money that we raise. Our most important role is to provide a rapid response to emergencies when requested by the police and fire departments. This is when people need assurance that everything is going to be OK and that others are available to help. The Salvation Army District gives us the authority to provide immediate housing and food assistance for people who are displaced. We work closely with representatives of the Red Cross and Crossroads Ministry who can provide long-term assistance. We are fortunate that we only had one call out this year for a family that was displaced by fire. And while the Red Cross was the primary resource this year for relocating people who had to evacuate due to the Cameron Peak fire, the Salvation Army assisted in finding places to stay for essential Town employees who couldn’t evacuate to the valley. Our thanks to the Quality Inn and Murphy’s Resort for their help.
Other than emergencies, most of our funds are spent helping Crossroads pay for Food Bank purchases, providing rental assistance, and paying for other specific needs including prescriptions and even car repairs. The Salvation Army provides subsidies for Meals on Wheels clients who cannot afford the full $5 meal cost and we have helped Community Corner Café with food bank purchases. We provide vouchers and gift cards to Crisis Advocates and the Estes Park Police Department to give to people for lodging, a tank of gas, or food for people who need assistance when Crossroads is closed. Our Extension Unit sends ten-percent of the money that we raise to the Denver District, but this year the District has already sent back over $6,000 to pay for our Food Bank purchases from a special COVID fund.
The Salvation Army has had an extension unit in Estes Park for over 30 years. For many years, Randy Skeie and the Rotary Club of Estes Park were the driving forces behind our fund raising efforts. Randy’s dedication came because the Salvation Army helped his brother and we hear similar stories from others who donate. Our Extension Unit board has 14 members who are Estes Valley residents including the directors of Crossroads, Crisis Advocates, and Salud as well as a representative from the police department. We are all volunteers with no office and no paid staff. Our biggest overhead expenses are postage to acknowledge contributions and rental of our Post Office box.
Thank you to the residents of the Estes Valley who have supported our Extension Unit for 30+ years as we continue our efforts to Do the Most Good.