Wine Festival Board President Sue Hansen said the festival is devoted to raising money for programs that help children in the Montrose area.
“We are really proud we were able to raise that kind of money,” Hansen said. “We have a generous community.”
That generosity will pay off for the two nonprofits and allow them to expand their services.
Michele Latimer, director of the Boys and Girls Club, said the funds will help her organization open a teen center that will open this week in donated space in the building that houses the Community Dental Clinic at 1901 South Townsend Avenue.
“It’s for teens 13 through 18, because there’s not a lot for teens to do in Montrose,” she said. “We’ll have Wii gaming, dancing with DJs, and food and treats to help the Keystone Club, our teen leadership group. That’s quite a bit of funding, and we’re going to focus on getting the teen center up and running. But we still have to buy a pool table and foosball table.”
The Boys and Girls Club will continue its summer day camp program this year for school-age kids from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the United Church of Christ on Hillcrest Avenue, with arts, sports, activities and games. The cost is only $20 for one child, $30 for two children or $40 for three or more kids for the entire eight weeks of programming. And, for the first time, a free lunch will be offered to all kids who participate.
“Fifty-eight percent of children in Montrose County are on free and reduced lunch programs,” Latimer said. “Food Bank of the Rockies is donating full lunches plus milk and we’ll also have a Friday backpack program.”
Backpacks will be filled with food for kids who need it to take home for the weekend, she said, similar to the Kid’s Aid program that was started this year in several elementary schools. Latimer said she hopes to join Kid’s Aid in the future.
The money raised at the Wine Festival is also helping Voices for Children open a satellite office in Delta, said Executive Director Karen Tuttle. Voices for Children is a program of CASA, or Court Appointed Special Advocates, where volunteers receive extensive training to become court advocates for abused and neglected children and report their findings directly to the judge in each case.
The need for volunteers is growing, particularly in the Delta area, Tuttle said. Volunteer coordinator Brenda Burns will split her time between Montrose and Delta, and the new office will be housed along with Partners in the old senior center at 423 Palmer Street.
Tuttle said the Wine Festival is a “great effort” that benefits the two organizations.
“It is so important that we keep these programs going for the children in the community,” she said. “And with their help we’re able to do that.”
The first Montrose Wine Festival was held in 2004 and raised $30,000 for the Boys and Girls Club, which was chosen as sole recipients. A few years later, Voices for Children was added, Hansen said, keeping the focus of the event on children.
Over the years, the festival has raised more than $250,000 to benefit the two organizations, and Hansen said the event is a success because of a lot of hard work from the 12-member board, members of the community and financial support from local business sponsors.
“We have a great board, all volunteers, and the way it works is that we start planning in October and work on it for seven months, until the event in May,” she said.
Applications are still being accepted for the summer program, which runs from June 14 to Aug. 6. To learn more, call 249-5168.