Helen Sedlar and Mandi Appelhans
Mountain Family Center

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August 7, 2014
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Mountain Family Center celebrates 35 years

The Mountain Family Center was founded in 1979 as the Fraser Valley Women’s Resource Center as a grass roots volunteer service organization.

The founding mothers met frequently to combat the isolation of living in rural remote Grand County. Throughout their visits, they recognized many problems the entire community was facing: the difficulty making ends meet in a seasonal resort economy; lack of public transportation; limited access to services; hunger; the hardship of losing utilities to keep homes warm; or worse, losing current living situations because rent could not be paid during low seasons.

Helping Grand County families and individuals became the role for organization, and the name changed to Grand County Resource Center in order to better mirror the services provided at that time. The center received its official 501(c) 3 status on Feb. 5, 1987.

During the 1990s, the organization gathered more resources and funding and began a women’s job training program, expanded the basic needs program, and implemented programs and projects that would provide and refer individuals and families to services in Grand County.

In 2000, the organization met the requirements for becoming one of the 24 members of the Family Resource Center Association (FRCA) in Colorado. The name of the organization also changed to Mountain Family Center. Assistance with one-time rent, mortgage and utility payments were added to the basic program services.

In 2011, MFC introduced the Weekend Totes Food Program in West Grand Elementary school, providing 55-65 children with food for the weekend during the 37-week school year. Children facing food insecurities at home could sign up at school to receive a complimentary tote filled with non-perishable food.

New director

In 2013, MFC hired a new executive director and introduced a summer food program in Grand County operating on Tuesdays and Thursdays in Hot Sulphur Springs and Tuesdays and Thursdays in Fraser. The summer food program provides meals to children facing food insecurities during the summer months.

For the 2013-14 school year, MFC secured funding to expand its Totes food program to include all four elementary schools in Grand County to serve approximately 285 children each week. Mid-year, a new mission and logo were developed to better align MFC’s image with services offered within Grand County. In October 2013, MFC relocated its main office to main street Granby, CO. The new location provides a central more accessible location.

For the summer of 2014, MFC expanded its summer lunch program to serve not only Fraser but Granby and Kremmling providing lunches to more than 175 children. Staring in September the Totes program will expand to include both East and West Grand middle schools. The program will serve grades K-8 increasing the weekly numbers to 350-plus children.

This fall MFC will also start its free after-school Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH) Program in Kremmling for children K-5. MFC will be working closely with the West Grand School District to implement this program.

Demand grows

Since moving the main office to Granby, MFC has seen rapid growth. MFC operates two food pantries: one in Kremmling and one in Granby. Between January and July of this year, these two locations have provided food to 2,640 individuals — huge growth considering for the entire year of 2012, MFC provided food to 2,851 and for 2013 the number served was 3,803.

While Grand County recently showed an unemployment rate of 4.6 percent, in contrast, the food pantry visits continue to climb indicating that perhaps Grand County has a higher “working poor” population.

MFC staff is trained on the Principles and Practices of Family Support established by Family Support America and utilizes the Strengthening Family Model adopted by FRCA and recognized by the National Registry of Evidence Based Practices.

Assuring the well-being of all families and individuals in a community is the cornerstone of a healthy society and requires universal access to support programs and services. MFC provides comprehensive, collaborative services with local referrals to help individuals and families connect with resources in their community.

Helen Sedlar is executive director of the Mountain Family Center and Mandi Appelhans is assistant director.

The Wild West Car, Truck and Motorcycle Show in Granby this Saturday, August 9th is an event that highlights the appreciation for classic vehicles while raising awareness for MFC!


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The Sky-Hi News Updated Aug 11, 2014 09:00AM Published Aug 7, 2014 01:21PM Copyright 2014 The Sky-Hi News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.