According to Garfield School District Re-2 officials, hundreds of students from kindergarten through middle school who qualify for the free/reduced lunch program at their school, come to school hungry after every weekend at home.
For many of these kids, the breakfast and lunch they receive at school are the only real meals they get.
Hard to believe this happens in Rifle? It does. Just ask a teacher. Kids are so hungry that they are lethargic, have stomach pains and can't concentrate when they come to school on Monday morning. This year, with the four-day school week, kids will be without adequate food for a three-day weekend every week, which exacerbates the problem.
Reach-Out Colorado Inc. (The ROC), in conjunction with the Rocky Mountain Food Bank and generous Rifle community members, are working together to try to remedy this crisis. Volunteers are needed each week to help unload food into a food bank in south Rifle, and then to pack hundreds of "totes" (plastic grocery bags) with nine to 11 pounds of nonperishable food to deliver to school counselors on Thursday mornings for distribution to students.
Come to the Volunteer Fair at the Rifle Library on Tuesday, Sept. 11, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to learn more about this and other volunteer opportunities.
For more information, or to volunteer, contact Kim Regan at (303) 815-5194. For information about The ROC, call 309-0384, go online to www.reach-out-colorado.org, or send an email to email@example.com.
This problem can be solved if we all get behind it. There should be no hungry children, or families, in our community. Let's work together to help each other.
director, The ROC
I'd like to respond to a letter written by Mr. Carl McWilliams in the Post Independent on Thursday, Aug. 30.
Our nation's economic success starts with strong local economies that emphasize diversity and sustainability in their overall plan. As the global markets shift into new areas of consumer needs and demands, it takes vision, a strong sense of collective ethic, collaboration, and courage to seize new opportunities, instead of clinging to past successes.
I am running for commissioner because our county is moving in the wrong direction. I want to bring my skill sets and experience - used to improve Rifle's economic success, quality of life and outdoor spaces - to the larger stage of county government.
Building a robust and sustainable economy in Garfield County can't be done alone. Systems, like the economy and environment, function better when they're diverse. Solutions are found when all voices are valued and represented in the process of creating comprehensive policy.
I have four goals as county commissioner: 1) Inventory and support existing businesses and municipalities to leverage sustainable growth opportunities and attract quality employers to diversify the county's tax base, improve revenues, and buffer boom-bust cycles; 2) Include the health and welfare of residents and the environment in the equation of a robust economy; 3) Engage in county governance with transparency and accountability to all residents; 4) Create policies based on solid vision and critical thinking that empowers qualified managers to implement day-to-day functions, manage staff, and serve the public.
Building community starts with respecting all voices. We can achieve together what we can't do alone. Please visit my website, Briedis2012.com, to get more info and connect with me directly.
Garfield County Commissioner Candidate
This Saturday, Sept. 8, is International Literacy Day. Founded in 1967 by UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, this day focuses attention on the need to promote worldwide literacy.
Students at Literacy Outreach, along with 30 million other Americans, struggle daily with the painstaking task of deciphering simple, yet distressingly important, messages. UNESCO estimates that nearly 800 million people - one-fifth of the world's adult population - do not know how to read or write. Women make up two-thirds of this number.
Literacy is the ability to read, write, compute and use technology at a level that enables someone to reach their full potential as a parent, employee and community member.
There is a correlation between a low literacy rate and a low paycheck. Just 35 percent of individuals with below basic skills are employed full time, while 64 percent in the proficient category have full-time jobs. Minimum wage workers increased wages by 18 to 25 percent within 18 months of completing an adult education program.
With everyone's help, we can teach local adults to read product and employee manuals, pill bottles, warning labels, job applications, ballots, school reports and their own children's notes. To volunteer, please visit www.literacyoutreach.org for upcoming tutor training dates. Along with guided instruction, our volunteers help adults overcome the shame and fear that accompanies functional illiteracy.
These struggling spouses, parents and employees live and pay taxes with us in Garfield County. The more successful they become, the less stress they create on social services, law enforcement, schools, their families, all of us. We all benefit from a literate community.
If you can read this, you can help.
Literacy Outreach Director