When disaster strikes, helplessness can be an overwhelming emotion both for victims of the disaster as well as those who are physically removed from it and can’t do anything directly to pitch in.
There are a variety of ways, however, that one can donate to help those in need.
On June 28, Gov. John Hickenlooper announced the creation of the Colorado Fire Relief Fund 2012, which directly benefits those affected by the Colorado wildfires.
The funds will assist all Colorado communities impacted by wildfires this spring and summer and will complement ongoing efforts at www.helpcoloradonow.org. Numerous individuals, foundations and corporations helped get the fund initiated by generating more than $600,000 in relief support the very first day.
According to a news release, the funds will be administered and distributed by a committee of community foundation executives appointed by the governor.
“Coloradans are at their best when they work together to help each other in difficult times,” Hickenlooper said in the release. “We’ve established this fund in response to the outpouring of support from the community to help out our neighbors affected by these wildfires.”
According to John Hartling, of Care and Share in Monument, the number of volunteers who showed up at Lewis-Palmer High School following the eruption of the Waldo Canyon Fire on June 26 was overwhelming, and they had more people willing to help than they knew what to do with.
In southern Douglas County, the story was the same. Despite taking in 74 large animals and three dogs at the Douglas County Fairgrounds during pre-evacuation June 27, the county had no need for more animal feed or volunteers as of the following morning.
“At this time, please advise folks to donate to the American Red Cross,” said Sgt. Ron Hanavan of the sheriff’s office, shortly before the launching of Colorado Fire Relief Fund 2012.
In addition to providing relief and assistance, the American Red Cross also cautions Colorado residents about being smart in their giving.
According to a release issued by Patricia Billinger, regional communications director for American Red Cross, if you’re not sure whether a solicitation is legitimate, you should contact your local American Red Cross chapter or call 800-REDCROSS.
“The best way to help during a disaster is to donate cash to an established disaster relief organization, like the American Red Cross; it’s the fastest way to get help to those who need it most,” Billinger states.
Billinger also stated that if one wants to donate new or used products, it is best to contact an established disaster relief organization that is serving the affected area to determine whether there is a need for what you wish to donate. A list of what types of donations are needed and where to take them can be found at www.helpcoloradonow.org. She further recommends that you should call first to establish an appropriate time and location for drop-off, as many places have specific collection locations.
Additionally, one can make a $10 donation to Red Cross by texting REDCROSS to 90999. To make a larger donation one can visit www.redcross.org. Individuals can also text the word FIRE to 80000 to give $10 to the mGive Colorado Fire Fund.