I think the photo sums up this story. The Marshall Fire recipients of some 70 boxes of donations from Meeker were so grateful, we even got a handmade sign of thanks.
It takes a village or in our case the generosity of a small town who can pull together on literally a moment’s notice, spread the word, perform good works, and support our fellow Coloradans.
Via donation coordination at the Methodist Church, a trailer load was delivered by Chippers to a welcoming destination. Additional donations have been packed and will be shipped when we have located another specific destination.
To all of you who are concerned that donations sites are closed (including me), here is my thinking. This is a gathering of compassion. We welcome everyone, including every donation, small or large. We will find recipients for your kind gifts.
This is a Meeker community effort, not just the Methodist Church. Recovering from this tragedy is a long time effort. So, we will keep plugging away, one drip in the bucket at a time.
I don’t know about you, but much of the past week watching the images of the fire, listening to the news, and reading about various related events, I just wanted to sit down and cry. During the past week’s collections, I’ve listened to many people’s emotional reactions and connections to the Louisville and Superior communities and it has been a constant reminder that this disaster could be us.
So, we’ve been doing what we can, cobbling together a donation plan and revising it every day. Other ideas to help are in the works. At this time, these include:
You can donate cash by leaving a check at the Methodist Church, Eighth and Park, c/o of the church and designated for fire victims. Or, you can donate online at meekerumc.org. Our plan is to coordinate these donations with organizations in the Louisville/Superior area who can distribute locally and personally to those in need.
We, meaning a small group of organizers, are looking into other support activities. Please stand by for details. Possibilities include adopting a family so our gifts are directed to specific needs. As displaced people move from temporary shelters to other housing (like FEMA trailers) we will find out if they need furniture, household good, or whatever.
Homemade cards that send messages of “we care about you” and “we’re thinking of you” etc. from Meeker, Colorado, is another personal touch that should be easy to do.
The impacted area fire departments have requested buckets filled with cleaning supplies, shovels, rakes, etc. for those whose houses still stand but are smoke and ash damaged.
We are working on these possibilities so please stand by for efforts to get solidified. Again, I stress these relief efforts will be weeks and months long.
The endeavor so far has included many lessons for all of us. The collection effort is more efficient when goods are clean and clearly labeled. Please don’t send junk or items that have passed beyond their useful life. Just be practical and think about what you need if suddenly all your possessions were burned to the ground.
There’s a role for everyone. Some folks made phone calls. Some contacted their friends and family on the front range for connections. Others worked the social media networks. Drivers volunteered. My spouse made all our meals and cleaned up so I could donate time at the church. Many helping hands sorted, boxed, and labeled, and moved donated items. Many thanks to all of you.
As a sad footnote, let’s remember that fires can start anywhere, any place, and any time of the year. If you don’t have a fire evacuation plan, or have not signed for the county emergency notifications, don’t wait.
By KAYE SULLIVAN – Special to the Herald Times