Hometown Hero: Karen Brown helps others put in a tough spot
The Community Budget Center has been a helping hand in Craig since 1980.
It’s been a local resource for people who fell on hard times and also the only nonprofit thrift store in town. Since then, it’s expanded and changed locations, but the mission to help the community has remained strong.
Karen Brown has managed the center for 16 years. It’s been a great fit for her, she said, giving her the opportunity to help people and work in a funky thrift store.
“We want to help people become independent,” she said. “Anything we can do to help people become independent is a positive thing.”
The center takes donations of clothes, furniture, books and other miscellaneous items. But they also direct donations to people who are in a financial tough spot.
“Our role is to help people out of a tight spot,” Brown said.
That can mean anything from helping people pay their utility bill to making sure they secure housing with a rent deposit on a new place to live.
It’s been rewarding to see success stories, Brown said.
“We helped a young couple and they actually came and volunteered their time,” she said. “They just brought a Christmas bag of candy. Now they’re doing great: both employed. That’s what we’re here for.”
The Budget Center gets its funding from sales, donations and grants from organizations such as United Way, Energy Outreach Colorado and El Pomar.
Winter proves to be a pretty busy season for the center with people who need help paying energy bills.
“This time of year, we probably get the most assistance requests,” she said.
Janice Chivington, an employee at the Community Budget Center, said she was proud to do meaningful work.
“It’s quite rewarding being able to help the community,” she said. “We have all just been happy to help someone.”
The best part of her job is the community, Brown said.
“You fall in love with the people,” she said.
Contact Erin Fenner at 970-875-1794 or efenner@CraigDailyPress.com.
The Bureau of Land Management’s headquarters will move to Grand Junction.