The organization helps victims of the Boulder County fire

The Sister Carmen Community Center provides assistance to residents of East Boulder County residing in Lafayette, Louisville, Superior or Erie.

BOULDER, Colorado – Following last month’s devastating wildfire in Boulder County, many families were displaced after losing their homes and all their belongings to the fire.

Many of these families are currently living in temporary homes and others are struggling to find work after their workplace burns down.

RELATED: Updated Figures Show 1,084 Homes Destroyed in Marshall Fire

Sister Carmen Community Center, a non-profit, non-religious organization, is helping families affected by the Marshall fire with clothing, food, and covering costs for those staying in temporary accommodation.

“We are helping families affected by the fires with gift cards, with food if they need it,” said Abi Ocampo, senior bilingual lawyer at the Sister Carmen community center. “Kitchen items, or sofas, beds, whatever you need, we’re here to support you. “

Ocampo said families who have been displaced and are in hotels or looking for a hotel can turn to the organization for help paying for their stay.

“We help families stay in a hotel, be safe, or pay for a hotel if they are already there and need this financial assistance.”

The organization has provided assistance to East Boulder County residents residing in Lafayette, Louisville and Superior for over 40 years. They help people with rent assistance, help with utilities, including water and Xcel bills, and they connect people with resources.

“We love our community; we try to work with them and meet them where they are, ”Ocampo said.

According to Ocampo, the Sister Carmen community center is asking for financial donations and gift cards as it is now inundated after receive a large number of clothes and kitchen items, furniture and diapers, among others.

RELATED: Community Donations Help Fill Gaps As Marshall Fire Survivors Move Forward

“We are at the capacity of our donations, our building is completely full, it looks like a warehouse where we have things stored,” Ocampo said. “So the best way to help us is to donate. It doesn’t matter if it’s a dollar, five dollars, 100 dollars; we accept donations because these donations help us book hotels, buy more food if needed. To buy cards. “

Families sometimes need gasoline so people can also donate gasoline or visa cards so families can do what they need to do with these cards. They can also donate cards to their favorite stores like Walmart, Target, King Soopers, and Safeway.

Another obstacle facing families affected by the fire is the pandemic, with many people also contracting COVID-19 as they face a housing crisis.

“So we have to be creative to help them get help,” Ocampo said. “We don’t want COVID to be a problem, in fact we want to help them because we know that with COVID only complicates things.”

RELATED: Short-Term Rental Owners Come Together to Provide Housing for Marshall Fire Survivors

“I have people who are like, ‘I’m so confused I’m sorry I have COVID. My brain just isn’t working, “she added.” I understand, I want to help you, so come to our center and we’ll find something for you. ”

Ocampo said those in need of assistance can call the organization and speak to a bilingual representative at 303-665-4342. They don’t need an appointment, but calling ahead will help guide them accordingly.

The Marshall Fire is the most devastating wildfire in state history. He destroyed nearly 1,000 homes and burned more than 6,200 acres. Tens of thousands of people were evacuated as the blaze spread through the Superior, Louisville and Broomfield areas.

On January 1, two days after the Marshall Fire began devastating communities in Boulder County, President Joe Biden approved a declaration of disaster.

The statement will release federal assistance, including from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), for Colorado. Residents and business owners who have experienced losses in designated areas can start seeking help by registering online or by calling 1-800-621-3362.

RELATED: Federal Aid Comes to Colorado After Disaster Declaration Approved

Assistance can include grants for temporary housing, home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs.

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Aubrey L. Morgan