Family help center steps up to the mic |

Family help center steps up to the mic

Summit Daily/Reid Williams Family and Intercultural Resource Center employees and volunteers unload food items for the center's food bank Friday in Dillon.

SUMMIT COUNTY – Life has dealt longtime Breckenridge resident Lois “Campy” Campenella a tough hand the past few years.The former ski patroller and bartender watched her home burn to the ground three years ago.She located a new rental within her price range, but, faced with Summit County’s high cost of living and unpredictable seasonal employment, Campy sometimes struggled to scrape together the cash to heat her house.Her circumstances took a deep dive this year when her landlord passed away, the new landlord evicted Campy, and she suffered a back injury which prevented her from doing any manual labor or sitting at a desk for any extended period of time.She bounced around from place to place for many months, crashing with friends and acquaintances, before finding a place to hang her hat.

“It’s pretty hard to find a place to live and something to eat when you only have a $625 disability check every month,” Campy said.Despite her tribulations, Campy has not hit bottom. She has a roof over her head, food to eat and resources to pay for her medical needs.Thanks to the Family and Intercultural Resource Center (FIRC), a local nonprofit agency that provides service and resources to Summit County’s families, Campy can meet her basic needs as she picks up the pieces.The FIRC helped offset the costs of Campy’s heating bills when she couldn’t make ends meet in the winter. The organization’s general assistance coordinator, Cat Morrison, arranged for her to stay in a local motel when she had nowhere else to go, gave her pasta, tuna fish and juice when she had nothing to eat and offered a friendly smile and an open door when Campy needed someone to talk to.”This woman has helped me out beyond belief,” Campy said of Morrison. “Asking for help is a really hard thing to do. Nobody understands what it’s like not to have a place to sleep. But this lady sat with me, trying to find me housing, calling every single source.”Campy is one of thousands of Summit County residents whose loads have been lifted by the FIRC. And this Friday is the community’s opportunity to help the organization with its often-heavy lifting.

FIRC staff will take to the airwaves for the 20th annual Microphone Marathon. The daylong, over-the-radio auction is the organization’s largest fundraiser, supplying as much as 30 percent of its general assistance dollars.Locals can tune into Krystal 93 (93.9 FM or online at all day to bid on prize packages that include everything from hut trips to spa treatments and pet services to home improvements.The Rocky Mountain High package includes dinner at the Keystone Ranch, two nights’ lodging, two days of snowcat tours and lunch at the famed Alpenglow Stube. The Mama Mia package caters to expectant mothers with spa services, birthing classes, a pediatric physical and postnatal massage.”This is a great way for people to support a local, community charity and get some holiday shopping done at the same time,” said FIRC director Christina Carlson.Listeners who don’t want to bid on auction items can make direct contributions to the FIRC during Microphone Marathon.

To spur the giving, many locals and businesses have made challenge donations. Kirstie Northcutt has challenged all Summit County employees to match her $50 contribution; FIRC board president Margaret Kral has set the bar at $500 for all members of community boards; Attorney Dave Helmer has challenged his fellow legal eagles to each donate $250.Carlson and Krystal 93 DJ Tom Fricke will start the bidding at 7 a.m. Friday and stay on the air until they’ve raised $30,000 that will be used to help Summit County’s families and immigrants in need.”With energy prices going up, the needs of our clients have increased. Health care is still an issue for so many families here and Summit County continues to be an expensive place to live,” Carlson said.To see the list of auction items, go to the FIRC website at or pick up a flyer at any Wells Fargo branch or the Krystal 93 station. Listeners can make bids by calling (970) 513-1170.Julie Sutor can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 203, or at

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