This fall, Team North Star has partnered with Community Compassion Outreach (CCO), through their RESST program to help support children in La Plata County who are experiencing homelessness.

According to a recent business brief from the organization’s Executive Director, Donna Mae Baukat, “Community Compassion Outreach’s mission is to assist local individuals and families in preventing, surviving, and exiting homelessness and poverty. This program provides recovery coaches, peer support professionals, and culturally sensitive assistance which includes meals, housing assistance, motel nights, transportation, wraparound services, and referrals to partner agencies who provide coordination of care. Funding will also be used to facilitate a new child/family program. Recovery Empowerment Support Services Team – RESST is a program serving people experiencing homelessness, mental health and substance/alcohol use disorders. This program is funded by a grant from the Office of Behavioral Health, Department of Human Services, Region SSPA 5 & 6.”

We are excited to be working with CCO to host a winter clothing drive along with collecting activities that can stimulate young minds and provide safe and fun activities for children experiencing homelessness to have during their hours outside of school and other community programs. It’s been really great to see the Durango and surrounding communities come together to help with this cause. From the businesses who are accepting donations (THANK YOU— Bank of the San Juans, Durango Outdoor Exchange, and The Wells Group!) to the many people who’ve donated clothing and other items, the giving spirit of the people in our community has really shined bright and our drop-off volunteers have been amazed at the kindness of this community.

(Photo: donations at one of the local drop-off locations.)

Currently, there are over 70 children ranging from infants to young adults who are experiencing homelessness in La Plata County. With winter fast approaching, these kids need warm winter items such as boots, gloves, hats, coats, warm under layers, etc. These kids also don’t have the luxury that many other children do to attend local events such as sports games, holiday and seasonal events, or to do things like ride the train or go to the movies. In addition to clothing items, we could still really use donations of activities or gift cards that can be given to the RESST program for children to be able to participate in these fun activities with other children from their community.

We hope that we can destigmatize the term “homeless” as it is a pressing issue especially for our country in trying to recover from the impacts of covid. According to the latest McKinney-Vento Act statistics, there are more than 21,416 students experiencing homelessness across the state (stated in the Denver Voice archive in January 2022).

With more programs like CCO and the Colorado Coalition who serve our communities to help people exit homelessness, we hope we can make a small difference in these children’s lives. Our generous locals have already donated an abundance of winter clothes, and we are only halfway through the month-long fundraiser. All of us at Team North Star are continually inspired by the strength and perseverance of the people of Durango. So far, this experience has been overwhelmingly insightful as to how caring and compassionate our community is. It is an incredibly exciting feeling to be able to give these children gifts and necessities that they need and deserve. We are still in need of fun activities for children in the coming winter months. Please consider donating gift cards to the movie theater, Chapman skating, or anything in the area that kids could go enjoy and their families might not be able to provide entry to. Board games, puzzles, skis, sports equipment, or anything that stimulates young minds and gives them something to do during their off time.

(Photo: donations at one of the local drop-off locations.)

To learn more about the fundraiser as well as local programs available like CCO, please reach out to us at (949) 244-7007 or CCO’s office at (970) 236-2313.