By P. WilLhoite
Pine River Shares director
Pine River Shares brings together the knowledge, skills and resources of people in the Pine River Valley to increase our collective power and work toward positive social change resulting in healthy, thriving Pine River Valley communities.
Each year about this time, Pine River Shares, staff, board, key leaders and volunteers engage in annual planning to ensure that our work reflects our mission. It's a participatory process like all PRS work. We want your thoughts and ideas!
Did you know that all PRS work is designed to meet obstacles to healthy, thriving Pine River Valley communities that were identified by people who live here? Pine River Valley residents consistently refer to the following issues and barriers to health:
Access to affordable healthy foodPoor wages and lack of local jobsHigh costs of livingGeographic social isolationDistance one must travel to access crucial supportsAccess to infant care and affordable child careAffordable housingWith our knowledge, skill and resources, Pine River Valley residents offer ideas and implement solutions that respond to barriers to health in the valley.
Our BK4K Backpack Project reaches 50 to 60 K-5 kids each week. Our weekly Food Share serves 40-plus families each week. PRS youth leaders operate a student-led food pantry at Ignacio High School. And new this year, PRS began USDA Commodity Food Distribution that reaches 75 households, and 30 senior PRV households per month.
While we cannot improve wages for all, instead of hiring staff, PRS puts over $12,000 per year in the hands of 60-plus PRV residents in the form of stipends paid for implementing programs.
PRS projects such as the FreeCycle Recycle Unit offering free clothes and household items, and the new Energy Outreach program that assists residents in need with paying their energy bills, are efforts to help offset high costs of living experienced by workers with limited incomes trying to make ends meet.
Monthly community dinners, Field to Fork potlucks, weekly Hot Pot & Food Shares, Kids in the Wild, and other activities held throughout the PRV are designed to bring people together. Connection is the strongest protective factor. We build healthy resilient communities when we get together!
PRS works to remove the distance barrier one must overcome to access crucial supports by offering free space for Durango-based service providers to meet with their PRV clients. To date, this includes San Juan Basin Health, WIC, Medicaid and Connect for Health, and the Southwest Center for Independence.
While the above projects provide some relief for immediate needs, we know there's more to be done to provide long-term solutions.
PRS' mid-range projects focus on education and skill sharing that fosters health in the PRV such as our popular preschool classes, Exploring Healthy Food, and Garden to Table Cooking series for adults and families.
PRS' long-range projects focus on culture and social change needed for healthy, thriving communities like the exciting new Field to Fork Project that works to grow a healthy, independent food system in the PRV.
Ensuring healthy, thriving lives for all in the Pine River Valley takes all of us looking out for each other, sharing our best ideas, and lending helping hands and resources.
Please take a minute to share your thoughts and ideas with us.
What do you see as the greatest obstacles to health in the Pine River Valley? What is needed so that all of us thrive?What ideas do you have that address barriers to healthy, thriving Pine River Valley communities?How would you like to be involved?It's easy. You can share your responses lots of ways. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, call our office at 884-6040; drop by our office at 357 North Mountain View Drive and leave a suggestion with us; or mail your thoughts to P.O.Box 993, Bayfield, CO 81122.
For consideration in the current planning process, let us hear from you by Feb. 14,
Thank you in advance for sharing your good thinking with us. PRS is successful because we intentionally "center" the lives of the people who live here. Help us keep this successful movement going forward 2020 and beyond!
"Share your thoughts. Get involved. Change the world."