The Summit County Cares holiday fundraiser is working to raise $75,000 by December 31 for Summit County’s largest emergency assistance fund. 100% of the money raised will be used to help locals pay rent/mortgage, heat or medical bills. The fund benefits the clients of the Family & Intercultural Resource Center (FIRC), Summit Community Care Clinic, Advocates for Victims of Assault and Social Services facing eviction, disconnection of heat or in need of a medical procedure or treatment. $56,000 was raised in the 2016 campaign and was able to help over 400 local families and individuals. Seventy percent of the people helped last year with Summit County Cares were facing homelessness. Unlike other years, more funding was necessary to keep families in their homes.
The high cost of living makes Summit County a difficult place to raise a family, and the significant increase in rental rates combined with the lack of housing options is making it even harder. Many families live paycheck to paycheck, with 40-60 percent of their income going towards housing costs (as a comparison, the national average is under 30 percent). So when a seasonal job ends, hours are cut, a relationship turns abusive or a medical emergency arises combined with the highest housing rates the County has ever seen, it becomes almost impossible for our neighbors to afford the basic needs.
The change in the housing market is making emergency funding more scarce. In the past, Summit County Cares has been able to help 800 people a year, but because most people need more funds to get them out of the crisis, agencies are unable to help as many people. The positive news is when a family receives help, 80 percent report moving from a crisis to a place of stability and that is the main goal. When people are living in crisis, it’s difficult for them to focus on parenting, job performance or long-term goals because they mainly worry about how they will put food on the table and provide a safe warm home for their children to sleep in. When a family feels stable, they can spend more quality time with their children, improve their work performance and take steps to achieving goals.
Stability is important for parents, but even more for the children. Studies show that ongoing economic stress can easily affect parents’ stress levels and has been shown to have lasting physical and psychological impacts on children. These impacts often have a negative effect on a child’s development and are correlated with a variety of health and social problems later in life. The developing brain of children is more vulnerable to chronic stress than most parents may realize. New and emerging research hints at how a constant barrage of stress hormones can change the way the brain develops, causing behavioral and psychological disorders and putting children at risk for mental illness (such as major depression and PTSD) later in life.
This is why the concrete support in times of need is one of the key forms of defense for families against economic and other stressors. When families can get help when needed, it allows them to weather times of crises effectively and thrive during times of stability.
The local media donates thousands of dollars of advertising to make this campaign possible. Thank you Summit Daily News, Always Mountain Time, Krystal 93 and Comcast Spotlight for their support. We also want to thank the Breckenridge Restaurant Association for donating the proceeds from the Fall Dining Passports and Father Dyer Methodist Church for donating a portion of their Christmas Eve offering.
Ways to help us reach $75,000
- Donations for Summit County Cares fund are being accepted through The Summit Foundation online or mail checks to P.O. Box 4000 Breckenridge, CO 80424.
- Dine Out to Donate December 14 – The Boatyard and Blue River Bistro are donating 20 percent of dinners sales and Rio Grande is donating lunch and dinner sales to Summit County Cares.
- $20K in 2 Days – We are working to raise $20,000 on December 20-21 for Summit County Cares. Agency and media reps will be collecting donations at the City Market locations along with online donations to help raise $10,000. We already have two $2500 match from Ivan Stanley & Associates for the day.
Success Stories – Here are a few examples of the clients who have been helped from this fund:
Danielle’s story- Danielle is a housewife who lives in a rental home in Summit County with her husband and 2 children (8 and 2-year-old). The family can’t afford quality childcare so Danielle stays home with the two-year-old and the husband is the sole financial provider. They pay $1,425 in rent but also pay $550 in rent and some scholar expenses of their oldest son, who is a full time student in the Front Range. The husband is a full time employee for a construction company, but the low season was longer for what they saved for and he didn’t have any work for two weeks. They came to FIRC during this crisis and were able to avoid eviction thanks to the Summit County Cares fund.
Johanna’s Story - Johanna came in to the FIRC office in an emotional crisis. She had just started the process of going through a divorce with her physically and verbally abusive husband. She also feared that her 3 boys, all under the age of 18 were starting to emulate the ex-husband behaviors and suffer emotionally from the abuse as well. Johanna was ready to make a change so FIRC was able to use some of the Summit County Cares funds to get therapy for herself and FIRC helped her put the boys in therapy with the school behavioral health program. She works full time and takes advantage of any overtime opportunities. FIRC worked with her to make a budget based on a single income and connected her to local resources so that her full paycheck can cover rent and food. Johanna is still following through with the divorce and has made remarkable success with keeping herself and family safe, emotionally stable, and happy.