The Family & Intercultural Resource Center’s volunteer-led Bag Project has reached another milestone in its success story — the five-year project has surpassed the $75,000 mark.
Volunteers known as the Bag Ladies sew donated material into wine bags, shopping bags, aprons, purses and more, then donate 100 percent from the sale of those items back to FIRC’s emergency assistance program. The project started in 2008 with two volunteers and the goal of raising $300; it quickly grew into a group of 30 volunteers who have raised more than $75,000.
According to the volunteers, the friendships they have formed with one another have become just as important as their overall mission of helping the community.
“It’s such an amazing group of women,” said Bag Project manager Shona Osborne. “We are absolutely thrilled to have reached $75,000. There is so much talent and dedication in this group, so to reach this number is a good reminder of the difference we’re making for FIRC and the community.”
Money raised by the project is used to support FIRC’s Community Support program, specifically to help pay rent when families are facing eviction. It is estimated that more than 150 people have been able to stay in their homes and get back on their feet thanks to the funds raised by the Bag Ladies.
“I have had the privilege of knowing and working with the Bag Ladies for the last five years and I am absolutely amazed at their dedication towards this project,” said FIRC development director, Anita Overmyer. “FIRC statistics show that when someone is helped with rent assistance, 88 percent report they are in a more stable situation six months later because of the support. These volunteers have made a significant difference in the lives of so many people in our community and FIRC is so fortunate to have their support.”
“I love that we can have so much fun using our talents to make a difference,” said LaReah Dyke, a Bag Project volunteer. “I’ve made such wonderful friendships through this project and it all helps make our community stronger.”
The Bag Ladies have had a booth at the Dillon Farmers Market all summer and have a year-round shop in La Riva Mall, which is donated by Abbas Rajabi. Their bestselling items are wine bags, which are also sold at Caamano Sweaters, Dillon Ridge Liquors, City Liquors, Frisco Fun & Formal and Breckenridge Distillery.
“This project wouldn’t be possible without the donated materials that come from many of the furniture stores, like Mountain Comfort and people around the community with unused fabric,” said Osborne. “We are always looking for new volunteers to be part of the project. It’s great when the new volunteers bring new product ideas, and even if you can’t sew you can help with embellishing and other projects.”
Anyone interested in volunteering for the Bag Project or looking to shop can contact Anita at FIRC at (970) 455-0223 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. More information about FIRC can be found online at www.summitfirc.org.