On New Year’s Day, CBDR received a request from Boulder County and The Salvation Army to deploy our feeding units to the Lafayette YMCA to feed the evacuees from the Marshall Fire that destroyed over 1,000 homes. Our feeding teams along with our set up crew were able to deploy and begin feeding in less than 12 hours. Even with the big snow storm our teams continued to meet the needs of the evacuees. As of January 12 the feeding report was:  5,192 meals provided and 1,335 man hours in preparing meals. This number has greatly increased since then.

In less than a week the local DAC (Disaster Assistance Center) was opened in Lafayette and we were asked to deploy our Mobile Semi Feeding unit to feed the evacuees that were coming to get assistance from FEMA, Boulder County and the local government agencies. The first night of our operations our water lines froze and we had not access to water. A contractor had seen our team trying to work on this and asked a few questions, then a few hours later he and his construction crew came and built and insulated skirt around the unit to keep our water lines from any further freezing. When asked for a business card he said “I don’t want anything for this work, I am thankful that you are here to help others. I lost my friend in a fire in 2013 and want to do this to help you to be able to continue your ministry.”

What a blessing this was! Now we have this material to use and will allow us to continue to use our semi feeding unit in the cold weather. Our CBDR and WY feeding teams have been committed and done an excellent job in this ministry working sometimes in the single digit weather. (Oh, the semi unit does have heat!).

Inside at the Disaster Assistance Center a young couple who lost their home came up to our table and asked for prayer. This has been a great part of the ministry that our teams of volunteers are doing to Bring: Help, Hope and Healing to the communities.

A young girl that came to give us stuffed toys to give to children that lost all their Christmas gifts in the fire. She was so pleased that she could help in this way!

A week after the fire started we were able to begin working on doing assessments with property owners and begin the ash out process which is different that our usual clean-up efforts. We are only allowed to sift for items of importance to the owners without moving any debris and not causing any ash to be flying around. Our usual process in complete cleanup of all metal and ash. Due to the environmental issues we are not allowed to do this. This is a dangerous situation due to the snow and mud in many of the foundations. We are making safety our main issue on the properties. We have been able to find lots of personal items that owners where looking for especially jewelry. Some items include:

Diamond Rings, necklaces, gold and silver coins, collector baseball cards in plastic containers, candle arbors, $20 bills, silverware, pictures and many other items. Of the first 80+ homes that have been sifted there were only 2 that the fire was so hot that nothing could be found.

We were able to complete 497 job request and gave out 50+ bibles and had opportunity to pray with many of the owners.

Serving Together,
Dennis Belz
CBDR State Director