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Nonprofit founder honored by Bigfork chamber

by TAYLOR INMAN
Daily Inter Lake | March 25, 2022 12:00 AM

The gallery at the Bigfork Art and Cultural Center was packed last week as Bigfork Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Rebekah King began to announce their pick for their 2022 Little Red Hen Award.

“This person recently shared on their Facebook page, ‘You cannot do all the good the world needs, but the world needs all the good you can do.’ It is really that statement that summarizes not only how they perform in our community but is also the reason she was chosen for the Red Hen Award,” King said.

She invited Threads founder Kim Rose to join her at the front of the room as applause erupted.

The chamber gives out the Little Red Hen award every year to celebrate an individual who is dedicated to enhancing the community by volunteering their time and energy to serving the public good. Rose has done just that since moving to Bigfork 14 years ago.

Rose’s passion lies in her work with local nonprofits. She is involved in many facets of life in Bigfork, but most notably she has dedicated her time to giving back to the community through Threads — a nonprofit that aims to recycle clothes and other goods for the benefit of Bigfork and Swan River students.

“How do we make things better? Well, we just keep communicating with each other and always working as a team. That’s what it comes down to, everybody just has to be headed in the same direction,” Rose said.

Rose started Threads in 2017 under the Bigfork Ladies Service Club. At the time, she was working the night shift at the Bigfork Food Bank — providing later pickup times for people who were not able to stop by during regular business hours. She saw a need for a service like Threads, and as the President of the BLSC at the time, she approached the group with her idea.

“We had clients at the food bank that had kids and there were things I could see that would be great to be able to help them with, but was not able to through that venue. That’s kind of how Threads was born. I had this idea and some ladies that were able to back me up…I pitched it to the Bigfork Ladies Service Club and they said, ‘sure, if you think you can do it, go ahead and do it,’” Rose said.

Rose said she initially started Threads as a way to reach students in need, but has since expanded to offer their services to all students. Currently, Threads is open one day a week at the Community United Methodist Church in Bigfork where students can “shop” for necessary items at no price.

“There were definitely kids who needed things, but we found it was a great way to include all of the students in the area. So if you need something, you can come to Threads and get it. And I always say it all the time: if there’s something you are not using, or isn’t good quality or doesn’t fit, bring it in and donate it to somebody else,” Rose said.

She said in the beginning, she thought Threads was all about getting clothes to people, providing primary care needs, and supporting students by giving them access to those items. But, as Threads evolves and grows she finds it’s much more about the connection she and her team make with the students.

“Any kids who come over would be hesitant to take anything, hesitant to hang around, hesitant to take any snacks — and because the team is consistent, I have the same five ladies that work with the kids — we’re always a consistent thing, every single week the same group of ladies know there’s always an expectation of who’s going to be there and that’s helped to build those relationships. And seeing the kids grow and blossom…kids who did need a little extra help and liked it for the social aspect of it really opened up and became more outgoing…every single student is welcome at Threads,” Rose said.

The Threads team includes Debbie Petek, Ellette Day, Kay Gough, Trish Friska and Katie Gates. Rose said these women have been with her since the inception of Threads and in turn have been a driving force in creating relationships with students and creating an environment where they feel welcome and comfortable.

King said Rose was chosen for her “enormous, but understated, commitment to bettering Bigfork.”

“She is the founder of Threads, a volunteer with the Bigfork Food Bank, a member of the Bigfork Ladies Service Club, and volunteer for numerous community events. It is Kim’s humility in her efforts that ultimately made her the choice, an unsung hero of sorts,” King said.

Rose said she was completely shocked to win the Little Red Hen award. She said she doesn’t pursue these efforts for recognition.

“I felt shocked, humbled, grateful — I feel blessed that I have the opportunity to do what I can for the community. I feel fortunate to be able to do that…I prefer to fly under the radar, so I just feel really honored. I want to thank the community too, because you know it takes everyone doing whatever they can to make it a better place and that’s all we do, that’s what everyone can try to do,” Rose said.

Threads is located on the second floor of the Community United Methodist Church in Bigfork. Anyone interested in donating to the program can contact Kim Rose at 406-249-5820.