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BEACON Senior News

Altrusa serves the community from the heart

Oct 03, 2016 12:06PM ● By Amanda Arnold

The small town of Palisade is a warm community that includes the sweet nectar of its peaches, and people who just care about their neighbors. Part of the town’s goodness is the Altrusa International of Palisade, which serves the area’s youth and families.

This coming October 20 is a very special day for Altrusa International of Palisade because it marks the charter’s 20-year anniversary. Sharron Steele, Deb Osborne and Cheryl Borchardt formed the charter from the Grand Junction charter. While the Palisade group remains small, it fills a much needed niche.

The group will celebrate its anniversary with a banquet in January since now is a busy time for them as they prepare for holiday projects. Upcoming events include Make a Difference Day, which is a huge book giveaway on the fourth Saturday of October. The Palisade charter is also preparing for such charities as holiday food baskets and shopping for families in need.

The holiday charities are all made possible from community donations and the club’s partnership with the Salvation Army and Family Food Town’s donation of potatoes and carrots. Students from the Palisade schools also pitch in. Secretary Darralee Coba especially enjoys helping the kids at Taylor Elementary sort through the food boxes collected by the schools.

“I am a big believer in the phrase ‘There but for the grace of God go I.’ You never know what life will bring and all the good we can do is what we were put here to do,” Coba said.

The club also participates in literacy-based projects that motivate children to be successful readers. The club works year-round to get books into the community through the Little Free Library at the information kiosk in Independent Park.

One of Borchardt’s and Coba’s favorite programs is the “I Like Me” books, which are personalized books for kindergarteners.

“Literacy is really important to me, and to see how amazed those kindergartners were to get their own books with their names, the names of friends, school and teacher was really heartwarming,” Coba said.

Altrusa International of Palisade nominates students who excel academically for an award provided by the club.

Once a year, the Palisade charter partners with the Grand Junction charter to hold a juried art fair for middle and high school students at the Western Colorado Center for the Arts.

“They don’t remember the day-to-day things, but they remember the special recognition for their talents,” Borchardt said.

Steele said that one of her favorite Altrusa projects is the Mount Garfield Sport Scholarship, which sponsors sports necessities like shoes and insurance.

“We sponsored kids who couldn’t play a sport because they couldn’t afford it,” Steele said. She said that often Altrusa projects pull at the heartstrings, especially when she meets the family and children who are helped.

Anyone interested in joining Altrusa of Palisade is welcome to attend a meeting at 6 p.m. on the fourth Monday of every month.

“It’s a real opportunity for people to give back to community, and for people to develop leadership skills and give advice for projects,” Borchardt said.

Coba added, “It’s nice to be able to do some service to our community and to know what we do makes a difference in the lives of our neighbors. It’s good to know that the money we have raised actually goes to helping people and not for administrative stuff.”

Altrusa International was established in 1917 in Nashville. For more information about the Palisade charter, contact Steele at 960-464-5021. More information can also be found at


Altrusa makes a difference

This is just the short list of all the wonderful things that Altrusa does for the community of Palisade. Have any of the following helped you?

• Christmas Food and Gift Baskets

• Angel Tree

• Canned Food Drive

• Donation of food to Child and Migrant Services of Palisade

• “I Like Me” books

• Mt. Garfield Middle School Athletic Scholarships

• Make a Difference Day

• HeART Africa Foundation donations

• Cup of Warmth Soup Supper

• Annual Alternative Education & Vo-/Tech Awards

• Jazzed for Education

• Altrusa International Foundation for Literacy and Disaster Relief projects

• Peach Sundaes and Parfaits booth at Sunday Markets

• Community Donations

• Two-Bit Fundraiser

• Fresh Georgia Pecans

• 25-cent Hamburger Fry

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