Summit County Giving Briefs: FIRC Bag Project raises over $100,000 |

Summit County Giving Briefs: FIRC Bag Project raises over $100,000

The "Bag Ladies" have raised over $100,000 for the Family and Intercultural Resource Center to date. Each bag is sewed from donated material, and all proceeds go to the FIRC.
Courtesy of the FIRC |

FIRC Bag Project raises over $100,000

Family and Intercultural Resource Center volunteers Kay Bullington and Becky Morgan came up with a goal in 2008 to raise $300 for the FIRC food bank by sewing and selling shopping bags made form recycled materials. Now, eight years later, the group has passed the $100,000 mark.

With 25 volunteers who call themselves “The Bag Ladies,” the FIRC bag project has expanded its offerings from shopping bags to purses, wine bags, iPad cases and more.

“The Bag Ladies and I are very excited and proud to reach the milestone of $100,000,” Shona Osborn, lead volunteer for the project, said in a statement.

The volunteers use donated materials to make the bags and give 100 percent of the sales to support the emergency assistance and food bank programs of FIRC.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

“With every sale, you can see how the volunteers are thrilled to be helping their neighbors in need,” FIRC development director Anita Overmyer said in a statement. “It is an amazing project and the dedication and talent of the group is inspiring.”

The Bag Project has helped over 1,500 locals who were facing hunger or homelessness. Most of the funds were used for FIRC’s rent assistance program, which uses the money to help people in crisis pay their rent so they can keep a roof over their head. A smaller portion of the fund was used to buy food for the FIRC food bank.

“We are so grateful for the Bag Ladies,” FIRC executive director Tamara Drangstveit said in a statement. “Their volunteer and fundraising efforts in support of FIRC’s work is absolutely incredible. So many families have been helped because of these dedicated volunteers.”

The average cost of a bag is $5, so to reach the $100,000 mark means the volunteers have made over 15,000 bags. This would not be possible without the fabric donations from furniture stores like Mountain Comfort and local sewers. The space for the Bag Shop in La Riva Mall in Dillon is also donated, which allows the volunteers a place to store fabric and sell bags. The wine bags are sold year-round at Caamano Sweaters in Breckenridge, Dillon Ridge Liquor Store, City Liquors, Frisco Fun & Formal and Antler’s Liquor Store. The Bag Ladies also have a booth at the Dillon Farmer’s Market or people can call FIRC to setup a time to shop at the store.

The project is always recruiting new volunteers. Those who are interested in sewing, embellishing or selling bags at various events may contact Anita at FIRC for more information, (970) 455-0223 or email


After raising more than $10,000 for Mountain Mentors at this year’s Straightjacket Ski Challenge, local skier Jay DeBaggis submitted a note of thanks for all Mountain Mentors supporters.

“Thanks to you, the donations exceeded our goal of $10,000 with every dollar going to the kids’ summer scholarship programs,” DeBaggis wrote. “Any clown can get tied up in a straitjacket and ski, but people who donate their hard-earned money to a good cause are the heroes that make a difference in young people’s lives. I am grateful to live in a place where people care tremendously about each other.”

DeBaggis started the straightjacket challenge two years ago. Known as “Great Uncle Jay,” he reads to preschoolers at the Little Red Schoolhouse every Tuesday.


Local physical therapist Levon Balbay, with Breckenridge Physical Therapy, will host a fundraiser on Tuesday, April 19 for a medical trip to Honduras. Balbay will join a team of doctors with Summit in Honduras from May 7 to 14, providing treatment to villages and orphanages throughout the country.

“We’re going to villages where there’s no care, or they have not had care for a while,” Balbay said. “Our clientele, a lot of them are people who work in coffee fields. They have a lot of overuse injuries, back injuries and shoulder injuries.”

Balbay is seeking to raise funds to help cover the cost of the trip, including an ambulance and other equipment. On Tuesday, he will offer 15-minute evaluations, starting at 9 a.m., at the cost of a donation.

“People who have thought about getting something checked out but couldn’t afford it, if they wanted they could come in for a small donation,” he added.

To set up an appointment by donation, call (970) 485-3421.


Help the Family and Intercultural Resource Center (FIRC) while paying off your library late fees through this year’s Food for Fines event. With the continued economic challenges in Summit County, many people are turning to our local food bank for help feeding their families and providing necessities. To assist with this demand, the Summit County Library will collect food and other items in place of monetary fines for overdue library materials from April 17 through April 30.

According to FIRC, items specifically requested are: pasta and pasta sauce, rice, cereal, black and pinto beans, hearty soups, canned corn and peas, peanut butter, baby diapers (sizes 3-5), toiletries, canned fruit, canned tuna and canned ravioli. Only these goods requested by FIRC will be accepted at this time. Please no green beans. Canned items cannot be used as payment for lost library materials.

Get a clean slate with the library and no fines by bringing in a can of food. There is no set can donation to cover the amount of your fine.

To learn more about the Summit County Library, please visit, follow them on social media or simply come by and check with any of the three locations, in Frisco, Breckenridge and Silverthorne.

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