Member Dustin Bowman shares a story about holiday spirit in Butte, MT.
The season is upon us for getting together with family and friends, watching A Christmas Story and impenetrably wrapping gifts with more duct tape than paper, I know I can’t be the only one. This year, I was proud to assist in Colleen Sander’s efforts to provide a family in Butte with a wonderfully Community Supported Christmas thanks to her hard work and the generosity of those at NCAT.
The program is called “A Mining City Christmas” and is an initiative of the Dept. of Human Services, allowing for philanthropic Buttonians to contribute during the holiday season. In 2011, the program helped 320 families in need, according to coordinator Kristi Hoar with the Human Resources Council District XII. Of that number, 136 were adopted by individuals and businesses. The other 165 families were provided Christmas through Mining City Christmas, Human Resources Council District XII, Toys for Tots, Butte Emergency Food Bank, Montana Resources and Washington Foundation, according to the Montana Standard.
The donation box Colleen placed at the front office of NCAT was not only brimming with money after the first day but soon was surrounded by boxes of food for the family’s small children Caleb (8), Trevor (8) and Cameron (2). Colleen and Angie went shopping for the three boys with the generous donations we received and obtained a vast assortment of holiday presents including clothing, matchbox cars, board games, puzzles, sports equipment, books and my favorite, a Mr. Potato Head!
A part of the AmeriCorps experience is recognizing the power an individual has to impact their community. Sometimes the value of that service is directed at a large recycling project or providing weatherization education for a neighborhood. Last week, for the Energy Corps, it proved to be as simple and rewarding as helping one local family have a happier holiday.
Dustin Bowman will identify and analyze energy efficiency opportunities in schools, hospitals and municipal buildings across Montana. I possess an Environmental Studies degree from Green Mountain College. I have completed three professional internships which covered aspects of energy efficiency, green building design and community organizing.