One woman broke into tears after walking up to the Catholic Charities’ table inside the Disaster Assistance Center in
Lafayette. The day before the Marshall Fire ravaged hundreds of homes on December 30, 2021, she and her husband had donated to Catholic Charities. The next day, her home was destroyed in the fire.
“She never imagined that the family who would be helped would be her own,” shared Stacy Baum, VP of Marketing and Community Engagement for Catholic Charities of Denver. “She and so many other families like hers had suffered
unimaginable loss just as 2021 was coming to a close and are now facing such a long road to rebuilding ahead.”
Baum and other members of the Catholic Charities’ team rallied with several local parishes, the Archdiocese of Denver, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and area disaster relief organizations to share resources and collaborate to help meet the needs of families displaced and suffering after the unprecedented wildfire. The fire quickly gained national attention after it roared through the Boulder County towns of Superior and Louisville, destroying more than 1,000 homes and other structures. Thousands of people are starting over with support from the community.
Volunteers activated to serve at the Disaster Assistance Center (DAC) by providing gift cards and spiritual support to hundreds of impacted neighbors.
“Our community came together to give more than $10,000 worth of donated gift cards for groceries and other household items to Catholics and non-Catholics alike who stopped by our table,” Baum shared. “We even had the privilege of making one 10-year-old boy’s face light up when we added in gift cards to Wendy’s. He was thrilled to be able to ‘take his family’ out for dinner at his favorite place.”
Catholic Charities’ first priority was to reach out to area parishes who were on the front lines of helping their parishioners directly impacted. The number of “God moments” abounded. One mother and son stopped by the Catholic Charities table, saying they had lost everything but were most heartbroken because they lost rosaries in the fire. When volunteer Deacon George Thierjung, of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Longmont, handed the young man his rosary and asked him to keep it, the boy broke into tears of joy. There were no dry eyes around as they all prayed together.
The support from the entire community has been overwhelming and generous. As the months and years go on, the entire Catholic community will continue to work with, support and stand together with the Marshall Fire survivors.
Pray with Us
God of hope and mercy, we lift up to you all victims of natural disasters and those responding with assistance and aid. Protect all who are in any form of danger; provide practical help to those in need; strengthen the weary, console the grieving, heal the suffering; and bless those engaged in disaster relief efforts with safety and courage. Help all people of good will respond with compassion and generous hearts. Amen.
— Prayer for Disaster Relief (Catholic Charities USA)