Feeling the burn?
The 416 Fire may be easing, but for the numerous locals whose jobs, businesses and living conditions were affected, the struggle is real. Fortunately, local nonprofits, community leaders and others are stepping in to help ease the pain.
With the Community Foundation Serving Southwest Colorado leading the charge, a Southwest Colorado Disaster Relief Fund has been set up to help those affected by the 416 Fire. The goal is to raise $500,000, and as of Tuesday $145,000 had been raised, according to Community Foundation Director Briggen Wrinkle.
“The response has been incredible,” she said. “We are at 30 percent of our goal to help 750- 1,000 people directly impacted by the 416 Fire.”
The fund will help people with immediate expenses such as food, transportation and shelter.
Those interested in applying for the funds can fill out an application at swcoda.org. According to Wrinkle, the first priority is to help full-time hourly workers who lost their job and/or were evacuated. She said more than 1,000 applications are expected, and the first distribution will be made Fri., June 29. Further distributions will be made based on priorities and funds.
To donate, send a check to The Community Foundation, P.O. Box 1673, Durango, 81302 or donate at www.swcommunityfoundation.org.
Other efforts around town include:
• The First Southwest Community Fund is offering low-interest microloans for area businesses impacted by the fire. The so-called #Southweststrong loans are available to small businesses (15 employees or less) that have been in business for at least two years and whose primary revenue stream was impacted or disrupted by the fires. Businesses may borrow between $1,500-$5,000, and closing fees will be waived.
For more info., call 970-422-5054 or email email@example.com.
• LPEA has set up a “giving tree” in its office to help fire-affected residents with their electrical bills. Visitors to LPEA headquarters in Bodo can pick an “ornament” off the tree associated with an account and then make a donation in any amount to help with the customer’s bill.
“Any amount is valued,” LPEA’s Julie McIntyre said. “Being on the front lines every day, ... we’re concerned it’s going to be tough for some people over the coming months.”
In addition to the tree, LPEA members can make arrangements to help specific individuals or businesses with their bills as well. For info., call LPEA at 970-247-5786 or visit www.lpea.coop.
• Ska Brewing will host “Save the San Juans” on Sat., June 23, with $1 from pint sales going to the Southwest Disaster Relief Fund. More than 25 breweries across the state have also joined the effort.
In addition, through Saturday, $1 from every Oskar Blues pint as well as sales of CANundrum 12-packs at Oskar Blues breweries in Longmont or Boulder will also support the fund. New Belgium Brewing will also be matching tips and donations in its Fort Collins tasting room through the end of June.
For a list of companies participating in “Save the San Juans Saturday,” go to radcraftbeer.com/savethesanjuanssaturday.