Aspen’s Day of Giving returns Saturday to help those in need | AspenTimes.com

Aspen’s Day of Giving returns Saturday to help those in need

The recession might be over, but the need still exists to help individuals and families struggling to get by, according to organizers of an Aspen event.

The third annual Day of Giving will be held Saturday at St. Mary Catholic Church in Aspen. The event was started in 2012 to collect donations of everything from winter clothing to gift cards and get them into the hands of people from Aspen and throughout the region who need help. The committee of women who organized the event didn't know if anybody would show up to collect the aid that first year.

"Over 500 people come through the door," said Laurie Murray, a member of the organizing group. More than 500 people have showed up both years, she said.

Although the Aspen-area economy has improved since then and construction firms have cranked back up, the organizers still believe many people from Aspen to Parachute need assistance, particularly families trying to gather enough winter clothes for their children, Murray said. Additionally, many people who are unemployed or underemployed when the summer tourism season ends may need help.

"There's so much need during the offseason," Murray said. She also works at Lift-Up, which provides food for low-income families, and said she can attest that the need still exists.

The Day of Giving was founded on the honor system. There is no check to make sure that the people seeking aid actually qualify. If people say they need help, they get it, Murray said. People line up outside St. Mary Church before the doors open. They are allowed to take as much as they want in 30 minutes, with more people allowed in as other people depart.

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It doesn't matter if the people seeking aid are from Aspen, Basalt, New Castle or just passing through. "It's for everyone," Murray said. They just need to bring their own bags.

Donations of materials and cash are still needed. All types of gently used winter clothing are needed, Murray said, as well as toys for all ages. Other contributions suggested in past years were toiletries, school supplies, grocery gift cards, gas gift cards and cash for the organizers to buy materials for the Day of Giving. Items can be dropped off at the church at 533 E. Main St. during regular business hours or monetary donations can be sent to Day of Giving, St. Mary Catholic Church, 533 E. Main St., Aspen, CO 81611.

The shopping room will be open from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday. Participants with the Pitkin County Senior Center will have access to the shopping room from 1 to 3 p.m. on Friday.

Other people with special needs that require early access to the shopping room can call Murray at 970-306-8464. Volunteers can sign up by contacting Allison Daily at artdaily@rof.net.

scondon@aspentimes.com

if you go

What: Day of Giving

Where: St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Aspen

When: Saturday, 9 a.m. to noon