News cycles tend to move fast. Especially over the past two years, it has often felt as if there is a near constant influx of new crises ready to come into the spotlight. But for the greater Boulder area and those affected by the Marshall Fire—especially the people permanently displaced by it—the recovery and rebuilding process will very much be the headlining reality for a long time to come.
Immediate response to the disaster within the community has been swift and ardent. From collaborative partnerships among local restaurants to offer free meals to evacuees to clothing drives, free personal care services and many more programs, people near and far have been eager to help. But it’s imperative to remember that the needs will continue to be great in the days, weeks, months and even years ahead.
What follows is a quick selection of organizations that people can donate to or engage with to assist those affected by the Marshall Fire. This list is by no means exhaustive—the outpouring of offers for support by the community continues to be a testament to the caring that Coloradans feel for their fellows. But for people looking to help as the needs of those affected evolve, here are a few options to consider.
Boulder County Wildfire Fund
Monetary donations are often the most tangibly impactful when it comes to supporting the people affected by a disaster. A versatile way to provide support, money gives people and organizations the flexibility to target specific needs and quickly adapt depending on timely realities and priorities in both the short- and long-term.
The Boulder County Office of Emergency Management is a trusted resource for identifying organizations to which people can donate to provide monetary assistance. It encourages people to visit ColoradoGives.org to view donation options, including through the Community Foundation Boulder County and its Boulder County Wildfire Fund. This fund has seen tens of thousands of donors contribute and has committed to working with local government and nonprofits to disperse the funds to those in need as a result of the Marshall Fire.
The Sister Carmen Community Center in Lafayette—a staple local support organization for over 40 years—is another resource center that the Boulder County Office of Emergency Management recommends when it comes to making donations. Monetary and gift card donations are specifically requested, and needs for various types of limited physical donations are regularly updated on the organization’s website.
Mental Health Partners
Boulder County has been through a lot over the past year. And while the physical trauma of the Marshall Fire has been extreme, the mental toll must not be forgotten—especially as it’s been compounded by the immense stressors of the persisting effects of the global pandemic and other local events. Ensuring and supporting the mental well-being of those affected and displaced by the Marshall Fire is one of the many initiatives of Mental Health Partners, which is offering a number of services and resources in response. Its website outlines these various programs and provides options for donating.
Impact on Education
More than 800 Boulder Valley School District students have been affected by the Marshall Fire, and Impact on Education has worked since the early days of the response to ensure that they have the supplies and support that they need to return to school. From backpacks and headphones to a host of other school supplies, this organization continues to work to equip local students—as well as the 50-plus affected district staff members—with the items to facilitate their well-being and educational success.
Finding housing will continue to be a challenge for those affected and displaced by the Marshall Fire. For people who are able to assist by offering accommodations, look into the Airbnb Open Homes Program to learn how to become a host. You can also engage with the Boulder Rental Homes Association to list a property available for lodging both for short- and long-term situations.
Helping the Helpers
Countless local organizations and heroes played key roles in ensuring residents’ safety and providing crucial services both in the midst of and immediately after the Marshall Fire. From the Humane Society of Boulder Valley taking in lost pets and facilitating reunions to community centers opening their doors to evacuees to staff at Avista Adventist Hospital working to safely evacuate patients and many more, the list of crucial helpers goes on. Giving to these organizations is a great way to both help those affected by the fire (such as through the Centura Associate Financial Assistance fund) and to help these organizations continue to perform their vital work.
As long-term recovery needs continue to evolve and arise, people seeking to help can stay up-to-date on upcoming volunteer opportunities through organizations such as Team Rubicon and the American Red Cross. Those seeking to help can also visit the Colorado Response website for additional resources and information.
· Boulder County Office of Emergency Management: Boulderoem.com/
· ColoradoGives.org: Coloradogives.org/
· Community Foundation Boulder County: Commfound.org/wildfirefund
· Sister Carmen Community Center: Sistercarmen.org/marshall-fire-relief/
· Mental Health Partners: Mhpcolorado.org/cowildfiresupport/
· Impact on Education: Impactoneducation.org/donate/
· Airbnb Open Homes Program: Airbnb.com/for-airbnb-org/how-to-host
· Boulder Rental Homes Association: Barhaonline.org/available-properties-for-displaced-tenants/
· Humane Society of Boulder Valley: Boulderhumane.org/
· Centura Associate Financial Assistance Fund: Rmahf.org/avista.html
· Team Rubicon: Teamrubiconusa.org/
· American Red Cross: Redcross.org/local/colorado/about-us/our-work/marshall-fire.html
· Colorado Responds: Coloradoresponds.org/
· Boulder County Office of Emergency Management Wildfires Resources: Bouldercounty.org/disasters/wildfires/