There are hundreds of ways to receive various kinds of help in Montrose County, including non-profits, government agencies, churches, and service clubs, among others. However, there has been no way to find all of them in one place, until now.
Members of the Montrose Rotary Club, the Montrose Community Foundation, and the Valley Food Partnership have teamed up to create a comprehensive website called Montrose Connect (www.montroseconnect.com).
The idea originated with a group of Rotary Club members, including Mark Plantz. He recently told a meeting of The Forum at Heidi’s Deli that the original idea was to create an online site with information that would help children. “When we started talking to the community about it, people said, ‘Oh, that’s really cool, but it should have more.’ The Montrose Rotary group knew that it was going to grow too big for us to handle. So, we enlisted the help of the Montrose Community Foundation and the Valley Food Partnership.”
The Partnership’s executive director, Abbie Brewer, continued the story at The Forum presentation. “Rotary’s Year of the Healthy Child took place, and we got involved through our Health Equity Lens”, the part of the organization that focuses on enabling people to eat as healthily as possible. “That means we really look upstream,” Brewer continued. “We are about connecting local healthy food to the fork. We look at what is actually going to allow people to eat healthier.
“The number one thing is to remove barriers,” she explained. To accomplish that, “we need to make sure they actually have resources.” The Partnership’s research found that there are many resources in Montrose County, but residents often don’t know where to find them.”
Consequently, the three organizations “decided to come together and really make it happen,” in Brewer’s words.
The website, which was not quite finished at this writing, contains links to 98 different local organizations; eventually, it will include links to every non-profit in Montrose County. The groups are arranged in 20 separate categories, ranging from animals to veterans’ services.
The website is available in English or Spanish, according to Plantz. “It was really important to us that it was translated i
Montrose Connect is working hard to ensure that the information is accurate and up-to-date, according to Sara Plumhoff, executive director of the Montrose Community Foundation. “It’s accurate information. We took the data base that we started with, and imported it into the website. We will be slowly updating all the information in there. It will be updated by individuals who own that information.”
Plumhoff said that Montrose Connect is meant to be much more than just a collection of links. “Although it is a resource, it’s really meant to be a first step to get people where they need to be. It links to organizational websites that have maps, that show you the actual location of the organization, and the people you need to talk to. There is contact information, i.e. emails and phone numbers, for each organizational website. So, it takes you to the organization’s website, where you can find the information.”
Even though the website wasn’t quite finished as of this writing, it was still possible to use its main functions.