COVID-19 Crippling Area Residents Financially
During the early stages of the pandemic and throughout the holiday season, many local residents reached out to donate to families in need across the Ute Pass region.
Many donations were specifically given to the Woodland Park school district so that they could help out local families that were struggling financially.
Now, after the holiday season, the Pikes Peak Rotary Club has teamed up with the district to provide help in a different kind of way. The club’s new Post-Holiday Community Gift Card Drive asks for the general public to buy gift cards from local businesses and send them to the rotary club.
Those who wish to help out can drop off a gift card between $15 and $50 to the Rotary Club’s office at 400 W. Midland Ave. Suite #125 in Woodland Park, or they can send the cards via mail to the Pikes Peak Rotary Club, P.O. Box 1935, Woodland Park, CO 80866. The club will then give the cards over to the school district so that they can distribute them to families in need to help them purchase important items, such as food and gas.
According to Rotary Club member Nancy Lecky, many people locally are still feeling the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The school district actually suggested that maybe after the holidays would be a good time to reach out to those folks in need,” Lecky said. “We talked about it in the Rotary Club and we all agreed with that. Because we felt like everyone’s bills start coming in after the holidays and then also just with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic there are still many people that are unemployed. So, we felt like it would be a good time to try to help out.”
The club came up with the gift card idea to help fix two local issues. “The reason why we like the idea of gift cards is because families can make their own choices at the store,” Lecky explained. “Instead of giving them cans of food or things they may not want, they would be able to purchase what they truly needed with gift cards. In addition to that, we thought what a great way to help our community businesses as well. So, it is kind of like helping two entities at once, the families in need and also our businesses. We hoped that people would get gift cards from some of our local shops and restaurants and we can give those to families. So, we are excited about that opportunity because we know that our local businesses are struggling as well during these times.”
According to Lecky, the Rotary Club is an international organization with clubs all around the world that are “dedicated to causes that build international relationships, improve lives and create a better world to support our peace efforts and end polio forever.” Locally, the organization focuses on supporting education.
The local club specifically focuses on helping students with literacy. The club provides mentoring programs for students in the district that need help with reading.
The club also gives dictionaries to every third-grade student in the district. “Every single third grader gets a really nice hard copy dictionary with pictures,” Lecky said. “The students love it. In some cases, it is the very first book they have ever owned. That is an effort that the club has been doing for over 14 years.”