The spring cleanup offered by the city of Durango definitely leads to some interesting curb-shopping!
I have seen several people perusing the items put out for disposal (Hmmm ... Maybe I need that broken bookcase …). It is hard to resist when we know something is free, isn’t it? The problem with most free things is that “you get what you pay for.” There is usually a good reason why those items are out at the curb.
There are situations where free things have tremendous value. Many of our nonprofits offer services to people of our community at either no cost or low cost. In these cases, you actually get far more than you pay for, in part because United Way of Southwest Colorado invests in the services on behalf of the community.
In addition to supporting the services at 39 local nonprofits, United Way of Southwest Colorado also offers two wonderful tools to our community. They are gifts from United Way (aka they are free). First, we offer an extensive telephone and online referral service called 2-1-1. You can dial 2-1-1 from your phone or go to wc211.org to connect with an experienced referral specialist who will help find the resources you or someone you know may need (e.g., housing, child care, food, job assistance, utility assistance, counseling and more). All calls are confidential, and the vast database of resources has been substantially updated. Next time you hear of a friend or stranger who is struggling and needs direction, encourage him or her to call 2-1-1 to get free, confidential assistance.
The second gift that United Way of Southwest Colorado gives to the community is connectSWCO.org. This is a local site that matches volunteers with local community groups who need helpers. Groups and nonprofits post their volunteer jobs on the site, and people search through them and sign up for the ones in which they have an interest. There is a great deal of variety in tasks, such as working on hotlines, stuffing envelopes or serving as board members. It is easy and free for groups to post their volunteer needs (subject to approval) and easy and free for volunteers to use as well. We launched this in 2016, and it has now grown to hundreds of regular users. Volunteering is a great way to meet new people, learn about your community, help people in need and fulfill community service obligations. Check it out now to take advantage of the busy summer season!
These services are free to you, but they are also of great value because of the investment United Way of Southwest Colorado makes on behalf of the community. Check out these tools and enjoy our gifts to you! Thank you for Living United.
Lynn Urban is president and CEO of United Way of Southwest Colorado.