Before the flames were doused, the state, national and international community responded with an outpouring of support to help fire victims in Boulder.
The wind-fed Marshall Fire erupted on the morning of Thursday, Dec. 30.
On Friday, Dec. 31, JEWISHcolorado launched an emergency fund. By Jan. 12, more than $550,000 had been donated to the Boulder Fire Relief Fund.
These dollars, said JEWISHcolorado President and CEO Rabbi Jay Strear, “will fund early gaps and help people take those first difficult and delicate steps forward.”
On Wednesday, Jan. 5, more than 20 service agencies, synagogues, rabbis and community members took part in a needs-assessment call, facilitated by Jco.
The Marshall fire is now described as the most devastating wildfire in state history: 10% of the county’s residents were evacuated or displaced, nearly 1,000 families lost their homes, and two people lost their lives.
As of Jan. 6, 61 people had connected with the organization seeking immediate help, including many beyond the Jewish community, according to Boulder JFS.
In the immediate aftermath of the fires, the Boulder JCC opened its doors, offering a place to shower, a way for people to connect to services, to find housing or get parenting resources.
Boulder JCC is offering free meeting spaces for those impacted by the fires or working to support the community, and has marshalled volunteers and set up a cooking program to help provide food to be distributed through Conscious Alliance.
As the crisis unfolded, the JCC began immediately tracking hundreds of families connected to the organization, carefully cross referencing with other organizations and published lists of destroyed homes and businesses.
Executive Director Jonathan Lev said the JCC knows of at least 50 families whose homes were wiped out; at least another five JCC staff members have homes in the highly impacted areas. “I am grateful for this community. It is what is holding me up right now,” he said.
The Boulder Community Foundation is working with the county to disburse direct financial assistance to those whose homes were damaged or destroyed.
The Disaster Assistance Center at 1755 S. Public Road in Lafayette is also providing help.
Community leaders expressed deep gratitude for the Boulder and Colorado Jewish communities, the “seamless collaboration,” and the outpouring of support during such a difficult time. JFS’ Banyan said,
“We will be here throughout this.”