Kudos and Kindness from Aspen Times readers (Jan. 6, 2019)
January 6, 2019
Praising RFTA for its holiday performance
The following letter was sent to Dan Blankenship, CEO of the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority.
It's obvious that RFTA has been monitoring its effectiveness and tweaking situations which could be handled better. At this busy time of year, I wanted to thank you and your hardworking staff, and wish you all a healthy and good new year.
As an aside, the lady driving from the Intercept Lot to Snowmass, at 6 a.m. Dec. 29, was impressive with her driving skills, professionalism and efficiency; thanks for hiring her.
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Get involved, help the needy
To give is to receive. That message and lesson rang true like Christmas bells over the holiday season. Our crew at Sun Dog Athletics would like to express our sincere thanks to our awesome valley community for their kind donations of winter clothing and sleeping bags during our first annual Warm and Fuzzy Winter Clothing Drive for the Aspen Homeless Shelter, held Dec. 12 to 26. Special thanks to Ed Foran and the crew at Douglas Elliman real estate for their generous donations. Caring and giving reveals character and many in our community revealed their true character through their actions.
Big thanks to The Aspen Times, Aspen Daily News and Aspen 82 for helping us get the word out. You guys helped stoke the engine that drove the "soul train!" You revealed your soul by helping out.
According to our wonderful new friend, Dasa, the director of development, over 100 winter coats and 100 new pair of winter socks were collected, along with a lot of other much needed winter clothing and new sleeping bags. The Aspen Homeless Shelter also gained about 20 new volunteers for their annual Christmas dinner for our homeless brothers and sisters. By all accounts, this clothing drive and awareness raiser, driven by our kind and thoughtful valley residents, was a great success!
Our homeless shelter is an amazing resource, especially during the brutally cold and lonesome winter months. St. Mary Catholic Church deserves immense credit for feeding and hosting folks overnight for many years. Jesus taught us to care for those in need, especially those in the greatest need.
We can do more for our fellow locals in need as recent letters to the editor have indicated. I would urge locals to get involved, offer their ideas and follow up with action to lift up our brothers and sisters in the most need. Even a smile and a greeting make a difference and cost nothing.
It's up to us to be the change we'd like to see. What change do you want to see? Thanks to the kind souls who supported this inaugural event, which will return this spring with a slightly different focus. You've created change, keeping our housing challenged friends warmer this winter and, importantly, showing that many of us truly do care. Let's take caring for those in need to the next level in 2019!
Holiday Baskets grateful for support
The Holiday Baskets Program, a totally volunteer project, was once again a joyful community effort. For 37 years this program has provided new gifts and toys for those in need in our valley from Aspen to Glenwood Springs.
This year we served 251 families (1,055 individuals). People are referred to the program by 11 social service agencies and are then "adopted" by individuals, the faith community, businesses, city and county employees, schools and other groups.
There are always more families in need than are adopted. The gifts for these families are contributed by people who choose a gift tag and then purchase the requested gift. All these gifts are gathered at Christ Church in Aspen where they are sorted and wrapped for individual families. Each family member also receives a generous City Market food gift card.
The response this year was particularly generous with many people and groups participating for the first time. We received wonderful donations of toys, clothing, money and gift cards as well as incredible volunteer hours. There was a lot of energetic help on our four Volunteer Wrap Days! We are grateful for grants from The Thrift Shop of Aspen, the Aspen Elks Lodge, the Aspen Rotary Club, Christ Episcopal Church and the Martens Foundation.
While it is not possible to thank everyone who contributed to the success of the program — we had over 350 volunteers! — there are several who deserve special recognition. Neal Batson, Elaine Bonds, Marsha Cook, Kathy Dreher, Elizabeth Parker and Bobbi Teliska spent many, many hours and a lot of energy matching families with adopting angels and making sure all the gifts were ready on pickup days. We also are extremely grateful to Christ Episcopal Church for once again providing space in which to coordinate and distribute the thousands of gifts.
It was heartwarming to observe so many people in our valley participating in this project with such love and generosity and it was truly joyful to see the happy faces of the recipients when they received their bags of gifts. If you haven't seen our video, please go to holidaybasketsprogram.com.
Chairperson, Holiday Baskets
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