Wednesday, August 27, is Delegate Service Day, during which delegates and Democratic dignitaries are being asked to pitch in and perform good works throughout the metro area. How’s that effort going? I wouldn’t know – I’m 250 miles away, in Grand Junction, just a couple dozen miles from the Utah state line (think desert, not mountains). However, the DNC encouraged the local county parties to participate as well, by doing a service project in our own communities.
The Mesa County Democratic Party chose to hold a food drive to benefit the emergency food pantry at Grand Valley Catholic Outreach. Catholic Outreach is well-known in the community for helping the homeless, but fewer people realize that the real thrust of its work is to prevent homelessness in the first place – including providing an emergency food pantry for those in need and unable to access the Food Bank. Catholic Outreach also happens to be a former JVA client; in 2006, I worked closely with their staff and board, and know them to be an exemplary nonprofit. Naturally, I’m thrilled that the Mesa County Democrats chose this great organization as the recipient of our local efforts on Delegate Service Day.
Of course, as something associated with the DNC, this was also a media event. As one of several volunteers for the local party, I was pleased that two of our local TV stations showed up to watch us cart in several boxes of donated canned goods and other staples, assisted by two local candidates (yes, we have our own TV stations on the Western Slope). Our TV stations have reporters in Denver, interviewing the few delegates from the Western Slope – I think they were glad to have something truly local to report on! Let’s hope the efforts in other counties across the state went as well, and spread the wealth throughout Colorado.
If the reports I’ve seen are to be believed, the traffic and crowds of Denver may come to exemplify the Colorado experience for many of the delegates and others who are there for the convention. My hope is that many of the out-of-towners take time to spend a few extra days either before or after the convention to get out of Denver, drive over the mountains, and experience the other Colorado – the one out here in the desert.
by Lorna Naegele
When Lorna is not taking a day off for her extensive community involvements, she is a Senior Associate at JVA Consulting, where she works with nonprofit organizations on the western slope of Colorado, helping to build their capacity to do great work.