ROC center in need of warehouse space
In the past year alone, the ROC center (Reach-Out Colorado Inc.) has assisted 200 people in need from Rifle to Parachute.
Now, ROC, which serves as a resource and referral center connecting those who might be down on their luck with vital services, is the one in need of some assistance.
The nonprofit recently learned that it will be losing its warehouse location at the Rifle Airport Commercial Park, where it operates several programs, at the end of October.
Since its founding more than three years ago, the center has operated in empty space leased by Murdock Electric. However, slow business is forcing Murdock’s to let the lease expire, said Dave Bottroff, Reach-Out Colorado executive director.
The ROC center uses the space to assemble totes for its Totes of Hope program, which provides food to school children in Rifle who do not receive adequate nutrition on the weekends, and to assemble and store gifts for the Angel Tree program, which provides gifts to Rifle children at Christmas. The space also serves as storage for the hundreds of coats distributed during the center’s coat drive.
Reach-Out Colorado is extremely grateful for the space and “invaluable service” provided by John Murdock of Murdock Electric, Bottroff said, but with the current lease ending at the end of October, the nonprofit is in desperate need of space. Without it, the Angel program would be seriously jeopardized and the Totes program, which receives pallets of food from Food Bank of the Rockies, could not continue.
“We have to find a place,” Bottroff said. “I don’t know how we’d operate (without it).”
In the 2014-15 school year the Totes program sent food home with 250 children per week in the three Rifle elementary schools, Rifle Middle School and Head Start Kindergarten, while the Angel program provided gifts for 340 children.
There is still very much a need for both programs, especially the Totes program, Bottroff said. This year, the program has 270 requests per week — up from the previous 250 — and that is not even close to the number of children who would qualify for the program.
In the 2014-15 school year, 53 percent of Re-2’s 4,668 students qualified for free or reduced lunches, according to data compiled by the Colorado Department of Education. Within that number, some of the schools with the highest concentration of qualifying children — including Wamsley Elementary where more than 70 percent of the children qualify for free or reduced lunch — are located in Rifle where the program operates, said Theresa Hamilton, director of Districtwide Services for Re-2.
For many kids, breakfast and lunch at school might be the only two nutritional meals they eat each day, and with no school on Friday, those same children might not have access to necessary nutrition for three days.
“It really does help,” Hamilton said.
The Totes program is scheduled to start this week with the first food-filled totes being distributed at the end of the week. Toy collection for the Angel Tree program typically starts in November. So far, Bottroff has not had luck finding anyone generous enough to lend space like Murdock has for the past three years. If necessary, he said the ROC center could accept donations to rent a space — he said they could operate in a space slightly smaller than the current 1,000 square feet, but not much smaller. However, that would not be ideal.
As Bottroff explained, when you have to pay rent every month you constantly need to raise money, a taxing effort for a nonprofit running mostly on the service of volunteers. He is hoping that the monthly tax break that a landlord would receive will be enough to convince somebody to step forward.
Anyone interested in helping can contact Bottroff at 309-0384.
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