Mountain Family Center (MFC) began in 1979 as the Fraser Valley Women’s Resource Center. The founding mothers met frequently to combat the isolation of living in rural, remote Grand County. Throughout their visits, they recognized many problems the entire community was facing: the difficulty making ends meet in a seasonal resort economy; lack of public transportation; limited access to services; hunger; the hardship of losing utilities to keep homes warm; or worse, losing current living situations because rent could not be paid during low seasons. Helping Grand County families and individuals became the new role for the organization and the name changed to Grand County Resource Center in order to better mirror the services provided at that time. MFC received its official 501(c) 3 status on February 5, 1987.
During the 1990s, the organization gathered more resources and funding and began a women’s job training program, expanded the basic needs program, and implemented programs and projects that would provide and refer individuals and families to services in Grand County including food pantry, clothing, counseling and mental health referrals, utility and housing assistance, food stamps, and application assistance with Medicaid or Medicare.
In 2000, the organization met the requirements for becoming one of the 24 members of the Family Resource Center Association (FRCA) in Colorado. The name of the organization also changed to Mountain Family Center (MFC). While the focus of the evidence based programs are for families the structure still meets individual needs as well. Assistance with one-time rent, mortgage and utility assistance were added to the basic needs program services.
In 2011, MFC introduced the Weekend Totes Food Program in West Grand Elementary school providing 55-65 children with food for the weekend during the 37 week school year. Children facing food insecurities at home can sign up to receive a complimentary tote filled with non-perishable food. Grand County has a three day school weekend and many children are on the free and reduced meal programs at school. Many children receive their main meals at school. The weekend totes ensure that children have access to food. MFC introduced Colorado Bright Beginnings which provides educational materials for new mothers, Nutrition and Exercise Classes, Community Gardens and Cooking Matters classes. Each program focuses on developing self-reliance and furthering education centered on fulfilling one’s basic needs. MFC continues to work closely with Grand County Public Health and Social Services, Grand County Rural Health Network, AV Hunter Trust and Daniels Fund to provide clients with assistance to obtain LEAP, SNAP, WIC, Medicare, Medicaid, CHP+, dental and vision auxiliary care. Mountain Parks Electric Charitable Trust, Summit Foundation, Anschutz and Energy Outreach Colorado provide funding to assist with rent, mortgage, and utility assistance.
In 2013, MFC hired a new executive director and introduced a summer food program in Grand County operating on Mondays and Wednesdays in Hot Sulphur Springs and Tuesdays and Thursdays in Fraser. The summer food program provides meals to children facing food insecurities during the summer months. For the 2013-14 school year, MFC secured funding to expand its weekend food program to include all four elementary schools in Grand County to serve approximately 285 children each week. MFC was challenged to raise a two year $108,000 budget to ensure the success of the expanded Totes Program. As of June 21, 2013 the challenge was achieved. Mid-year, a new mission and logo were developed to better align MFC’s image with services offered within Grand County. In October 2013, MFC relocated its main office to Granby, CO. The new location provides a central, more accessible location.
MFC staff is currently trained on the Principles and Practices of Family Support established by Family Support America and utilizes the Strengthening Family Model adopted by FRCA and recognized by the National Registry of Evidence Based Practices. Assuring the well-being of all families and individuals in a community is the cornerstone of a healthy society and requires universal access to support programs and services. MFC provides comprehensive, collaborative services with local referrals to help individuals and families connect with resources in their community, and also offers one-on-one budget review and planning.
In 2015, MFC added cancer support services for local residents. Working with a volunteer corps, Team Grand County, funds are raised each year at the Taking Steps to End All Cancer 5K to support pharmacy, travel and overnight stays for cancer related services.