Kaye’s Corner: Donations for Marshall Fire victims

I’m changing my article last minute to share with you the awesome heart and generosity of the Town of Meeker. In an effort to help in some way, a small group of us initiated a donation drive for victims of the Marshall fire. 

The Meeker United Methodist Church provided space to sort and box items. The Methodist mission team reached out to Louisville for a specific delivery destination and coordinated a crew and trailer to drive over to Louisville. 

Others spread the word on Facebook, called friends, texted their contact list, and got the grapevine in Meeker going. Some rounded up shipping boxes and heaven knows where they came from because most of our businesses were closed.

Keep in mind that all this started on New Year’s Day when a person is supposed to be sleeping in, partying with friends, watching football, enjoying a day with family, and generally goofing off.

Instead, a constant stream of people showed up with bags and boxes of clothing, linen, books, toys, food, toiletries, and even animal food. Volunteers appeared, sorted, boxed, taped and made all the donations transportable. 

Another team of strong guys hauled all the boxes up the stairs and packed a trailer.

Get this: 70 boxes were assembled in just one day starting at 9 a.m. and packing the trailer by 6 p.m. We started with nothing, not even one box, and shipped off a trailer load in just a few hours. This was literally an operation planned less than 24 hours before and on one day (a holiday at that!) our little town pulled together an awesome donation for those in need.

Many of those arriving with donations had tears in their eyes, stories of friends or family impacted by the fire, and filled with empathy for all those suffering. We all have a huge ache in our hearts about this Colorado tragedy.

Jay and I lived for a short time in the adjacent town of Lafayette and had friends who lived in Louisville so we know that area a bit. Although it is suburbia, Louisville is a small town with its own identity and pride. It was a sweet town of parks, hikes, and caring people. 

Superior is a tiny historic town that also became a small shopping center hub containing a Target, office supply store, Costco, and Panera where I often met friends for lunch. Not only did Superior lose some 500 structures, employees who worked in many of these retail outlets have no place left to report for work.

As we have all seen on the news, this awful fire just swept through burning everything in sight in a few minutes. If 1,000 homes burned to the ground in Meeker, we would need help too.

These folks are not a mission in a far country but just over the mountain a few hours away. They are Coloradans just like us. I think the outpouring of goods and support indicates that many Meeker residents feel the same way. The victims are our buddies even if we don’t know them.

Every day trying to figure out this project has been a new mystery. Thanks to the outreach of many people, we have gained new information and new possibilities. Everything on this project is shifting every day. My belief is that recovery will take lots of time, so I will keep doing what I can to help.

We have been collecting donations all week and will see where we stand at end of day Thursday. In the meanwhile, we’ll reach out to determine how we can best help victims. Thus, I can’t tell you with any certainty what is planned for outreach in the future.

Recovery from a fire of this magnitude will take time and we may initiate other avenues of caring and assistance. And, yes, I am aware the Boulder County is discouraging donations at the moment so we will adjust where and when to delivery our collections that can be stored at the church in the meanwhile.

If you would like to help, you can contact the Methodist Church, 970-878-5904 or me, 970-942-9201.

A variety of organizations are also coordinating cash, volunteer, and other ways to give. Just reach out and help if you can. With heartfelt thanks to all. 

By KAYE SULLIVAN – Special to the Herald Times

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