While local fundraisers looked different this past year due to the pandemic, that did not inhibit Montrose doctors Sarah and Tim Judkins from giving back to organizations.
In November, CASA Executive Director Carlton Mason reached out to the Judkins and other previous donors about the status of the CASA of the 7th Judicial District’s youth housing project in Delta. The fundraising efforts were nearing a close with $100,000 still needed before the project could break ground. The Judkins, along with others, would donate half of the remaining balance, if Mason could match it, to help the project proceed.
“I don’t know how much the whole project is, but I just love that they did it (in Montrose) and took the best parts of it, improved upon it and then are doing it in Delta,” Sarah Judkins said.
The matching grant pushed the project’s fundraiser across the finish line. The project, 1st Place on Palmer Street, broke ground March 1.
“Community members helped us raise about $150,000,” Mason told the Montrose Daily Press in January.
The impact Mason has on youth in the area through such projects inspires the Judkins to get involved year after year.
“I just feel like the programs that really support our community are very high yield,” Judkins said. “When kids are in tricky or difficult situations and they just need some help, it’s nothing. They’re pretty innocent in the whole thing and you feel like you do a little and you get a lot.”
Judkins added how kids just need someone to look out for them.
The Judkins also donated a vehicle to CASA this past year. When Sarah’s sister said she was going to purchase a new vehicle, Sarah contacted Mason to see if he could use it. The vehicle provided CASA not only with a form of reliable transportation, but also enabled them to deliver meals to kids around the west end during the pandemic.
The Judkins passion for giving back centers on their strong faith. Sarah also said her parents and aunt were generous when she was growing up, which helped her develop a desire to give to others. Now the Judkins are sharing that with their children to teach them giving is not just a holiday event, but something the family seeks to be consistent with throughout the year.
“You have to give all the time and it just has to be part of what you do,” Judkins said.
As part of teaching their children, the Judkins engage in regular conversations about giving at the dinner table.
“Kids are probably more generous and they hold onto their stuff and money less tightly than we do as adults because I just think, especially our boys, I don’t think they know what it means to be hungry or be cold or not have a stable environment," Sarah said. "When you talk to them about those things, they are like ‘Oh, we should give all of our money.’ My 7-year-old (Paul) said, ‘We can give our give money and our spend money’" when the Judkins sponsored a family.
Seeing those values to give expressed by their children is amazing, the Judkins said.
Acknowledging the challenges everyone has faced the past year, Sarah noted how the need to give back only grows in those times. As surgeons, the Judkins were unable to work when the pandemic began, but that did not damper their giving spirits.
“This year has been so bizarre, and we talked about it,” she said. “We feel strongly that the times you have to give the most are when you feel the least secure about doing so because everybody else’s world is upside down, too.”
The family chose a handful of local organizations, including HopeWest, Sharing Ministries, Haven House, CASA and Boys and Girls Club to give back to with money they had already set aside in a donor advised fund.
Although the pandemic affected local nonprofits’ abilities to fundraise for their causes, the Judkins are just some of the people working behind the scenes to help their community through this rough time, despite their personal hardships.
“It’s been a pretty amazing year of giving,” Judkins said.