You don’t have to scratch your head when someone asks if there’s a League of Women Voters in Kootenai County. Pull out your North Idaho Community Resource Directory, an inch-thick book that lists nonprofit and government services available in the five northern counties.
The League is on page 189, and its entry includes contact names and phone numbers as well as a description of what the league does. It’s one of more than 1,000 services listed.
“Last year we sold about 750 directories,” said Dean Thie, executive director of the Information and Referral Volunteer Connection, the nonprofit Coeur d’Alene group that produces the directory. “We try to put one in every law enforcement vehicle in the county. That’s 250 copies, but we couldn’t do it this year because we don’t have the funding.”
The latest edition of the directory just hit the stands in Kootenai Medical Center’s Consumer Health Library. The directory costs $25 and includes everything from the ABC Food Bank in Athol to the YMCA of the Inland Northwest. The Y is in Spokane, but its programs are available to people in North Idaho.
Information and Referral began in 1988 to answer people’s need to find local services. Grants helped launch the directory, and book sales have paid for updated versions, Thie said.
The directory opens with two pages of phone numbers for crisis programs – hospitals, the Women’s Center and the Bonner County Homeless Task Force, for example. Agencies are listed alphabetically by county before they’re listed in greater detail later in the book.
Thie said Information and Referral’s nine-member board of directors scans the news daily for mention of new organizations to add to the book. The listings are free. The group allows only services that pertain to health and quality of life. It includes the North Idaho AIDS Coalition but not the local branch of the National Rifle Association.
“The directory is an incredible piece of work,” said Morgan Richardson, executive director of Idaho Child Abuse Response and Education. “It has made life so much easier for us. Our community and our program depend on the availability of this jewel.”
Information and Referral printed 500 copies of the 2005 directory. They’re available at KMC’s Consumer Health Library or on the Internet at www.nicon.org.
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