Summit County Cares is getting ready to kick off its annual holiday campaign, and organizers are hoping that this year more local businesses will join in on the community-wide fundraiser.
Summit County Cares is the largest emergency assistance fund in the county, with 100 percent of donations supporting locals facing emergencies of eviction, disconnection of heat and electricity or in need of medical care.
So far this year, the fund has served a total of 125 households, with the majority - 64 percent - of the assistance going to locals needing help with rent or mortgage. Anita Overmyer, the Family and Intercultural Resource Center's development director, said it's estimated the fund will serve 200 households by the end of the year - a total of 800 locals, if the average home has four people.
A recent FIRC survey shows that 82 percent of people who responded to having housing assistance have moved from a crisis or vulnerable situation into a safe or stable situation. More than 97 percent of FIRC clients face financial struggles because of sudden or seasonal job loss, reduction of hours, a medical emergency keeping them from work or the need to get out of an abusive relationship.
Overmyer said this year, they're hoping more businesses get involved, whether it's through a straight donation, helping to get the word out or getting employees on board. The fund helps all locals, so there's a good chance that it's helping an employee or two of a contributing business, Overmyer said.
The Breckenridge Restaurant Association has already named the fund as the beneficiary for its fall dining passports.
"There's always a way that people can participate," Overmyer said. "This is the largest emergency assistance fund. Without it, we wouldn't have the resource to assist people in these emergencies."
How the money helps
The FIRC recently received a thank you letter from a single mother of one. She and her husband received a $30,000 assessment that forced them to sell their condo, resulting in a $75,000 loss. Soon after, they decided to get a divorce. After being a stay-at-home mother, she started several part-time jobs so she could provide for her son. The money from Summit County Cares was used to help her afford the security deposit on her new apartment while she was waiting for her first paychecks to come in. Without the money, she didn't know how she could provide a home for her son. Now she is receiving regular paychecks and she's in a stable position.