Shopping for a cause |
Andy Smith

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Shopping for a cause

Nearly 1,000 people in Moffat County help out the disabled every time they shop for groceries.

By using their City Market Value Card, shoppers who have signed up to be in the City Market Cares program help the Independent Life Center earn a share of the $125,000 the grocery chain gives back to the Colorado communities it serves every quarter.

Recently the ILC earned a check for $700. ILC Director Evelyn Tileston says the City Market Cares program provides between $3,000 and $4,000 annually.

“It’s significant,” Tileston said. “We use that money to do things that other grant sources won’t let us do. It’s kind of our money we can be creative with.”

The center, which serves people with disabilities, has an annual budget of between $180,000 and $200,000 and receives financial support from the United Way in Moffat, Routt and Rio Blanco counties.

The center has used its City Market Cares allocation to help fund a van and buy a computer.

The center also uses it to pay the rent and phone bills and travel to training conferences.

But shoppers who want to help out have to sign up to support a specific organization, City Market store manager Kirk Mahaffie said.

The ILC is the biggest beneficiary of the program in Craig.

The Knights of Columbus are also eligible to receive money and the Boys and Girls Club has expressed interest in joining.

Any nonprofit can sign up to be part of the City Market Cares program, but it’s up to the organization to recruit people who have a Value Card to designate a beneficiary. Each organization must have a minimum of 50 Value Card holders signed up.

Tileston is always looking for more benefactors. The ILC has a form that City Market shoppers can use to designate the ILC as the recipient of their donation.

The forms can be picked up at the ILC office at 485 Yampa Avenue.

“The more members use their Value Card, the more an organization will earn,” Mahaffie said.

“It’s a painless way of helping out. That’s what’s so good about it.”

When shoppers have their Value Cards swiped, the information is captured by a computer.

There’s no money coming out of the shopper’s pocket.

Each organization’s supporters determine the percentage of the $125,000 the organization will receive by the number of times their cards are swiped.

Tileston recently asked members of the Downtown Business Association to become enrolled in the City Market Cares program and support the ILC.

The center has about 200 open cases, but Tileston estimates that the ILC provides direct service to 300 to 350 people a year.

Every time the ILC provides assistance to a person with disabilities, they’re also helping out the families and caregivers of people with disabilities, she said.

The Independent Life Center is a “consumer-controlled service to empower people with disabilities,” Tileston said. “That means that the people who receive the services are always involved in how the service is provided.

“We tell them when they come, ‘we work for you.’ And for some people, that knowledge is really a significant change in how they’ve been treated in other places.”

Andy Smith can be reached at 824-7031.