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October 8, 2013
It is hard to believe that just last month, we had an unprecedented natural disaster occur in Northern Colorado. Here in Fort Collins, I see very little evidence of the widespread destruction that occurred in other parts of Larimer County. But we must remember that just a few miles down the road, many families continue to struggle with how they will recover from the devastating impact of the floods.
Just hours after the flooding began, United Way's 2-1-1 call center was activated by the Larimer County Emergency Manager to support flood rescue and recovery operations. Our 2-1-1 team assisted more than 1,200 callers from across the country to get answers they needed about evacuations, road closures, how to give help and, perhaps most importantly, how to get help in locating family members and friends who were unaccounted for.
Now, almost a month later, the unaccounted for people have been found, the emergency shelters and Emergency Operations Center are closed, and the rescue operations are complete. Yet, the crisis continues for families in Larimer County affected by the flooding.
Thousands of our Larimer County neighbors have been impacted. More than 1,200 people were evacuated from flood-stricken areas by air. Not only did they leave their homes behind but also their transportation.
Now that the immediate need for food, temporary shelter and emergency services have passed, the very hard work of recovery begins. As we know too well from the wildfires of last summer, recovery is a long process. We must ensure that our Larimer County neighbors who have been impacted by the flooding are not forgotten in the weeks and months to come. We must help these individuals and families find stable housing and access to transportation, among other ongoing needs, to help them begin to rebuild their lives.
Many have asked, “How can I help?” One way to help with the recovery is to contribute to the community's Long-Term Recovery Fund. You also can contribute to the same fund through the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado. All individual contributions to the Community Foundation are generously matched dollar-for-dollar by the Bohemian Foundation.
Volunteering your time and talents is another great way to help with the recovery. The best way to link up your skills and interest with available volunteer opportunities is to call 2-1-1, or (970) 407-7066, or to register online at HelpColoradoNow.org.
There are also thousands of volunteer opportunities as part of United Way of Larimer County's Make a Difference Day, which has more than 100 volunteer projects taking place Oct. 21-27. These projects will help more than 50 organizations who make a big impact in Larimer County year-round. To see a list of the projects and register to volunteer, click here.
We are so grateful for the outpouring of support from thousands of community volunteers and donors who have already come forward to help our neighbors during this challenging time. Together, we are showing the world that Larimer County truly knows what it means to Live United.
President & CEO, United Way of Larimer County
Copyright 2015 United Way of Larimer County