By Kim Hamilton
Special to The SUN
What started a little over a year ago as a Facebook page to help a few people in the community over Christmas and was mildly successful has blossomed into a grassroots site to help families in need all year long for a wide arrange of needs. Famous “Help the community” video showcasing the hardships few of the families face over the holidays has reached a number of displays similar to views delivered from themarketingheaven.com, but without any marketing done, which is exceptional.
This year, thanks to video and all the generous donors by either cash, gift cards or going out and buying presents for families in need, the project was able to help over 30 families have a Merry Christmas who otherwise would not have. Each year, this project will be named Adopt-a-Family for Christmas.
On the Facebook page, Year-Round Blessings in Pagosa Springs, children who are on the reduced meals program in school during the school year were fed in a variety of ways. School clothes were provided for over 20 children prior to the school year. There’s been everything donated from a battery for a car to help a family’s mom be able to get back and forth to work, to diapers.
How this works is the need is posted on the site either by the person or, if the person wants to stay anonymous, they can private message the administrator of the page. Then people either donate their used items or they might say they want to go buy the item for the person. Meetings are set up to exchange or purchase those items. Donors can also remain anonymous if they so choose by the same process.
What is great about this is that people who are in need are also ones who give to others. Kids outgrow their clothes sometimes without being worn out and are no longer needed by a family, who can then pass it along to another who is in need. Dishes, tires — the list is endless.
Another advantage of this program is youngsters are starting to learn about community service at a very young age. For Christmas, some children were willing to give up one of their Christmas presents in exchange for their parents being able to help children who were going to have no presents. Children were using their allowances to go buy something for a child in need. It’s just been a great big smörgåsbord of needs that have been fulfilled.
The site runs on the premise of a hand up, not a hand out. It seems to domino and everyone is helping everyone else. Singles, couples, families with children — all are helped in their particular situation.
Of course, as any other Facebook site, it’s free to join. We really like to keep it to Pagosa Springs residents only, but other nearby towns’ residents are also included sometimes. So, go join the site now. The more people that are members and involved, the more people can be helped.
This is such a great, supportive community. Page administrator Kim Hamilton would like to thank each and every person who has been involved in the past year to help people in need.
The next big project will be to try to collect funds to pay off all of the kids’ school meals that are on the reduced plan but still don’t have the money to pay even that. As you will see on the site (and others), there are needs posted every day that we’re sure there will be someone who will be able to help in some way. We look forward to seeing many new members.
By Kim Hamilton