Responding to the Marshall Fire

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We are heart-broken about the events of Thursday, December 30, when multiple fires (collectively called the Marshall Fire) caused catastrophic damage and the loss of hundreds of homes in Boulder County, especially in the communities of Superior and Louisville. All who were affected are in our thoughts and prayers.

We’d like to coordinate offers of help from folks in the First Church community with the needs of folks who have been impacted by the fires. So we invite you to get in touch whether you are seeking help, or you would like to offer help.

NEED HELP? If you have been directly impacted by the fires, and you need help, please email the Church Office to let us know about your immediate and/or longer term needs. Also, see the list of Resources for Folks Impacted by the Fires farther down this page…please scroll down.

WANT TO HELP? If you’d like to help those impacted by the fires and have something specific to offer (for example, an available-to-rent apartment or house, clothing, toiletries, food, help with home repairs), please email the Church Office.

 

A Personal Ask: The Pradeau Family

Our hearts go out to the Pradeau family, longtime members of First Church who lost their home in the fire. If you’d like to help the Pradeaus, they’ve asked for help with meals at this time.

Help with Meals
Visit the Meal Train page that has been set up to assist the Pradeaus with food. You can sign up either to cook a meal yourself, or provide funds for a meal from a restaurant.
NOTE: the Meal Train for the Pradeaus will be ending on February 14, 2022.

Help Stella Purchase a New Piano
UPDATE: As of January 24, 2022, the Pradeaus have reached their goal for the GoFundMe campaign for a new piano for Stella. Therefore, the GoFundMe site has been disabled.

 

OTHER WAYS TO HELP WITH FIRE RECOVERY

1. Donate relief money through these organizations:

Disaster Response Fund of the Mountain Sky Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Make sure to designate your gift for “Marshall Fire relief.”

Boulder County Wildfire Fund

American Red Cross

Salvation Army

2. Host Evacuees
Sign up on AirBnB.org to host folks displaced by the fires.

3. Buy Gift Cards
Buy gift cards for stores such as Target, Crate and Barrel, Macys, Bed Bath and Beyond, Walmart, Safeway, King Soopers, etc. We’ll collect them here at church, and deliver them to the Boulder County Office of Emergency Management for distribution to those in need. Please EMAIL or call the church (303-442-3770, ext. 3) before dropping off gift cards since staff are not always working in the building.
You can also mail gift cards to the church:
Attn: Marshall Fire Response
First United Methodist Church
1421 Spruce Street
Boulder, CO 80302

4.Volunteer Your Time
Register as a volunteer on the Colorado Responds Volunteer Website. You’ll be contacted when your help is needed.

Want to pitch in with relief efforts? The City of Louisville needs your help. Those able and interested should email Erica Schmitt to be added to the city’s volunteer email list.

Volunteers are needed at the Marshall Fire Donation Center at 21 West Flatirons Crossing. Shifts are available to assist with collecting, sorting, and organizing donations. “This project requires physical strength and stamina.” CLICK HERE to learn more and sign up.

5. Help Students Replace Their Favorite Books
Boulder Book Store is partnering with the nonprofit Impact on Education to help replace the books that Boulder Valley School District students lost in the Marshall Fire. Their goal is to give every student a gift card of at least $100 to the bookstore so that they can begin rebuilding their personal libraries. CLICK HERE to donate funds to this initiative.

We’ll keep adding to this list as we learn of additional opportunities to help.

 

Resources for Folks Impacted by the Fires

1.) Mental Health Support
For individuals/families impacted by the fires, first responders, and responding agency staff/volunteers who may be feeling overwhelmed, FREE therapy and counseling services are available through Spark the Change Colorado’s Mental Wellness Program. To access services please call 1-844-380-6355 or send an email to kgroen@sparkthechangecolorado.org.

2.) Boulder County Wildfire Fund
The Boulder County Wildfire Fund’s webpage is a comprehensive list of resources for folks who have been impacted directly by the fires. Scroll down the page until you see this heading: I HAVE BEEN AFFECTED DIRECTLY BY THE MARSHALL FIRE; HOW CAN I GET HELP? The Fund has also set up a Disaster Assistance Center for in-person help accessing a range of services including property loss and filing claims for assistance, financial and food assistance, mental health supports, transportation, and more. The Disaster Assistance Center is located at 1755 South Public Road in Lafayette, and it is open 7 days a week from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

3.) Restaurants Offering Free Meals
Restaurants Revive is a group of Boulder and Denver area restaurants offering hot meals to displaced residents of the Marshall Fire. CLICK HERE to see a list of participating restaurants.

 
Pastor Mike wrote these words on Friday, December 31, 2021:

The fire and the wind brought great damage and grief and trauma to people around this place these last 24 hours.

The Marshall Fire (so we name fires like hurricanes now?) was costly in a million ways. I think of piano keys in homes that will never hear chopsticks or Chopin, Three Blind Mice or Tchaikovsky, Jingle Bells or Johann Sebastian Bach, as they collapse into ash. Toys and stuffed animals brought to dust, stealing a little of the naivete of childhood, too early. Tables and dinner plates and coffee cups, melted down into a plastic soupy mess – with no more Thanksgiving dinners with laughter and stories and tears told over them. Books whose ashes are swept away in the wind, pages left unread, unquoted and unable to stir the imagination the way they were meant to.

What is lost is costly, and what is most valuable remains. The ability to re-member. To think of all that is lost and re-member that it was first a gift. The ability to re-store and re-start a life with people one loves and cares about.

There is not much one can do as a pastor in times like these. Watch and pray and bear witness and connect, is about it. I am filled with gratitude for those who made room in their homes for family and friends who had no place to lay their heads. This is Holy Work. I am grateful for meals put together that feed body and soul in such difficult times, in such wrenching moments. This is sacred.

Those who have lost homes and so much more, I hope you know you are not alone. On this eve of the new year, there is maybe something no more important to remember.

Lucille Clifton’s poem seems apropos to me on this day.

“Running Into a New Year”
by Lucille Clifton

i am running into a new year
and the old years blow back
like a wind
that i catch in my hair
like strong fingers like
all my old promises and
it will be hard to let go
of what i said to myself
about myself
when i was sixteen and
twentysix and thirtysix
even thirtysix but
i am running into a new year
and i beg what i love and
i leave to forgive me