Posted by Jim Garrett
Justice Ministries of Pagosa describes itself on its Facebook page as “A faith based, non-profit organization that operates as a non-governmental human service agency. We connect those who have a need with those who have a heart willing to serve.”
Among its activities has been the organization of the Salvation Army Christmas season bell ringing/collections, seasonally sited currently in the community at City Market and Walmart.  Nancy thanked Rotary for its participation in the fund-raising drive, through supplying bell ringers sufficient to staff 10 out of 31 total days at the City Market            site.  She reported that over $16,600 was raised at City Market for local programs receiving funds from the drive.  The total raised was more than $36,000 including nearly $7800 at Walmart and $11,850 from mail-in donations.
Nancy and Neal distributed certificates of appreciation to all “bell ringers” from Rotary. 
Nancy said that the local programs that receive funds from the donations collected on behalf of the Salvation Army include Pagosa Outreach Corp. (which supplies grants to the needy for emergency expenses), Thrive, Loaves and Fishes, Rise Above Violence, five local food pantries, the Thanksgiving Meal/Food program, and the Rotary Backpack Feed our Kids program. 
Collectively, she said, these programs provide a broad variety of help to the needy by assisting with costs of food, fuel, rent, heat, utilities, diapers, prescription medicines, transportation (including bus passes), and emergency lodging.
Nancy also reported that the administrative costs for the Christmas fund-raising is only 10%, part of which is spent on Salvation Army state-wide programs for which all Coloradans are eligible, including youth camps and rehab programs.
Except in the state’s largest communities, Nancy reported, responsibility for running the Salvation Army fund drive is “farmed-out” to local organizations.  While it has been handled locally by Justice Ministries for several years, she said that that the local effort had gotten more substantial than could be managed by Justice Ministries effectively alongside its other activities, so responsibility for the 2018 fund-raising will be transferred to a local committe she is forming.
Neal is the new director of Justice Ministries.  The organization is headquartered in the same building as Fro-Yo, on Lewis Street.  He gave his telephone number as 90-264-4483, and email address as
He explained that Justice Ministries is a “resource reference,” that refers clients needing assistance to available resources in the community, such as food pantries.  In addition, in some instances it is able itself to provide direct assistance, such as making donated furniture available. 
But, Neal pointed out, it is more than a source for badly needed material assistance; Justice Ministries also seeks to help transform lives when needed by providing assistance with efforts such as skills training.  “Justice” in the organization’s name refers to the goal of achieving justice in life by overcoming the personal and social limits of poverty and inadequate skills.  The organization has approximately 900 clients, he said, receiving as many as 10 or more new inquiries daily in the summer.
A Rotarian in the audience commented that she had recently met a young woman with a needy family, who despite living here two years had no awareness of the community’s resources available for the kind of assistance that could make a difference to her family.  That is exactly the kind of person Justice Ministries can help, Neal responded: send her to us!