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Nonprofits, community connect at Chamber event


Thompson Falls Chamber of Commerce hosted the second nonprofit volunteer fair Saturday and welcomed 14 organizations to the Thompson Falls Senior Center. While the event gives an opportunity for nonprofits to connect with the community, it also allows organizations to connect with each other in hopes of collaboration as they look to find common ground for their specific needs.

“Part of why I organize this is because we have over 100 nonprofits in Sanders County and I didn’t see an opportunity for them to get together with new people and volunteers to discuss what’s available here,” said Andrea Christensen. The chamber board member and secretary of Project ASCENT says what she hopes to see come out of an event like this is connection, networking and possible funding opportunities for organizations who team up and work together on a project.

Among those in attendance, Sanders County Community Development (SCCD) returned as executive director Ray Brown looked to provide technical assistance while learning about the needs of the community. After last year’s volunteer fair, SCCD worked with the Old Jail Museum to secure funding for their needed projects.

Newcomers to the event included Thompson Falls Pickleball Club, who are in the process of looking for funding to resurface the old courts at the high school, giving them more room for their ever-growing organization. Kayla Mosher, Recreation and Outreach Coordinator for Kaniksu Land Trust, said she looked at the event as an opportunity to let community members and other nonprofits know who she is and what she has to offer the county in her new position.

Several organizations were indeed looking to find volunteers to help with the many events happening during the season. “We need volunteer power,” said Rob Christensen, executive director of Project ASCENT. “We have a small board but we put on huge events. Volunteers are the backbone of those events.”

Other organizations in attendance included Thompson Falls Woman’s Club, Rex Community Theater, Sanders County Coalition for Families, CASA of Lake and Sanders County, Sanders County Community Housing Organization, Paradise Center and Cancer Network of Sanders County, which is currently looking to add board members from the towns of Noxon, Trout Creek Thompson Falls and Hot Springs.

Thompson River Lumber sponsored the event. While only a small number of community members showed up to look for volunteering opportunities, Andrea Christensen still called the event a success. “The nonprofits all seemed to enjoy networking with each other and were happy at the end of the day,” she said.


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