The Moscow Food Co-op’s Dime in Time program supporting local nonprofits raked in more than $2,000 between September and November — the most raised in a single quarter in the program’s 11-year history.

Co-op Marketing Manager Steve Corda said the program awards shoppers who bring in a reusable bag or coffee cup with wooden “dimes,” which they can give to an affiliated nonprofit.

“You can then choose between three local charities to give that dime to,” Corda said. “That turns into actual money that we donate to a charitable cause.”

After a record-breaking September and October followed by a “tremendous but not record-breaking November,” Corda said the Co-op raised $2,347 for two local groups and for the Co-op Community Fund.

According to a news release, this amounted to an estimated 23,470 disposable bags and cups being diverted from becoming waste. The release states local beneficiaries Inland Oasis and Saving for a Storm received about $1,727 between them and the Co-op Community Fund received $620.

Inland Oasis, a local LGBTQ support organization, said donations from the Dime in Time program were an encouraging show of solidarity for the queer community on the Palouse. The organization’s President, Hannah Hayes, says the nearly 30-year-old nonprofit has numerous functions, including programs helping local clinics provide free HIV testing and hosting dinners where, once a month, families, friends and allies come together for different activities in the spirit of inclusivity.

Hayes said Inland Oasis is best known for organizing Palouse Pride every August and for monthly Drag Bingo, which are also the organization’s major fundraising events.

“We also have an emergency fund called the Lilly Longlegs Emergency Grant — last year, we donated close to $3,000 to several different community members,” Hayes said.

LGBTQ or not, any community member can apply for an emergency grant, Hayes said, which are typically awarded to help with surprise bills related to crises like housing or medical emergencies.

Saving for a Storm President and co-founder Melanie Voorhees said her organization was started in June and the community support that has spun out from their participation in Dime in Time has been “absolutely mind-blowing.”

To this point, she said, Saving for a Storm has largely concerned itself with sheltering cats while they find permanent homes for the animals. However, she said the roughly $900 they received from the Co-op will allow them to take the first step toward a major mission of their fledgling organization — building a fund that would help pet owners defray the cost of surprise veterinary visits.

An unexpected but welcome perk to the program was it helped with Saving for a Storm’s visibility. Voorhees said after their affiliation with Dime in Time, it was common to encounter people who remembered the nonprofit from their trips to the grocery store.

“These people didn’t even know who we were but they already believed in our cause, which was really phenomenal,” Voorhees said. “We obviously didn’t know how much to expect from the program but any little piece helps and we were just blown away by the amount that we received.”

The Co-op Community Fund is funneled toward loan capital provided to co-ops around the country. The interest generated by the Community Fund will be reinvested in the local community in the form of grants, Co-op officials said.

Those who wish to donate or volunteer for either Inland Oasis or Saving for a Storm can contact both groups online at inlandoasis.org and savingforastorm.com.

Scott Jackson can be reached at (208) 883-4636, or by email to sjackson@dnews.com.

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