The Red Cross shelter for residents displaced by the Marshall Fire, located at the YMCA in Lafayette, received donations of pet food on Dec. 30, 2021. Credit: John Herrick

This story was updated at 11.25 p.m. on Jan. 10, 2022.

The Marshall Fire on Dec. 30 has led to a rush of donations and volunteering by people in Boulder County and beyond. The generosity was so instant — and so vast — that many local government entities and nonprofit organizations, from the Boulder Office of Emergency Management (BOEM) to the Sister Carmen Community Center and the Colorado Pet Pantry reported being overwhelmed by physical donations. 

Cash is the preferred donation, they’ve said. But there are still plenty of opportunities to donate tangible items like clothing, food and toys – as well as your own volunteer service. Most notably this week: BOEM opened its new drop-off donations center.  

We’ve compiled a list of what’s needed most right now (updated on Jan. 10, 2022), from some of the larger, vetted organizations working on the ground to assist fire evacuees. There are dozens of active Facebook and other groups too, big and small, where people are organizing neighborhood by neighborhood, house by house, in spreadsheets and elsewhere. (Check out Official Lending a Hand Main Hub! Boulder County and Boulder County / Marshall Fire Assistance Group, for instance.)

If you know of a donation or volunteer opportunity the broader community should know about, please email us at tips@boulderreportinglab.org. And sign up for our newsletter BRL Today for the latest and most up-to-date information.

We will keep this information updated:

Donations of food, goods and services

BOEM, which leads the county’s emergency readiness and response programs, opened its Marshall Fire Donations and Resource Center for daily donation drop-offs, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m, on Tuesday, Jan. 11, for the general public. 

Here’s a list of specific items needed here. It includes everything from shampoo and toothpaste to new car seats, crock pots and toasters. (Here’s a list of items that the agency does not need or want.) BOEM is requesting that donated items should be new. And it is urging the community not to bring any physical donations to the YMCA shelter, or to police or fire stations. 

Sister Carmen Community Center, an East Boulder County aid organization,  said on Jan. 4 that it is no longer accepting any material donations because it has no more capacity. “We are so thankful for our community, which quickly came together in a time of need! Our food bank and warehouse are full to the brim of food and supplies to support local families. You are amazing!” the organization wrote on Facebook.

You can fill out this form if you have offers of donations or services.

 A Precious Child, a Broomfield-based nonprofit organization that serves children in need, also updated its needs on Jan. 4. For now, it said, the organization is accepting only new items and gift cards. “We will let our community know when we change back to accepting all donations again. Thank you!” the group wrote on Facebook. For ideas on what to donate, you can visit its Amazon Wishlist here.

On Jan. 6 on its Facebook page, the group put out its “Top Fire Relief Needs requested today by families.” They are: bedding, pillows, sheets, luggage and backpacks (everything new).

The Buff Pantry, part of the CU Volunteer Resource Center, is accepting food and personal items, new items only.  You can shop their Amazon Wish List and send items directly to the Buff Pantry.

Gift cards

A Precious Child echoed the calls of multiple organizations working in the field on its Facebook page: “We’ve still had a lot of you reaching out, asking how you can help the Marshall Fire victims. We’re told the most immediate needs for families this week are gift cards.” 

Specifically, they’re asking for Visa, gas, Target and grocery gift cards. The group requests that you drop the cards off at the Precious Child donation center at 7051 W. 118th Ave. (Unit 1) in Broomfield. You can reach them at (303) 466-4272.

Sister Carmen Community Center is also urgently requesting gift cards. They have asked that the cards be in increments of $100 and purchased from Target and King Soopers. You can bring them to Sister Carmen at 655 Aspen Ridge Dr. in Lafayette at the east entrance during open hours only. You can learn more on their Facebook page, and reach them at (303) 665-4342.

Cash donations

BOEM is encouraging the community to donate cash to ColoradoGives, an online giving tool powered by the Community First Foundation that connects donors with nonprofits. BOEM identified ColoradoGives as a “vetted donation channel.” It has raised $8.3 million. 

ColoradoGives is also working with the Boulder County Community foundation to accept financial donations through the Boulder County Wildfire Fund. The Boulder County Community Foundation says it has raised over $17M from over 52,000 donors. “We are establishing an advisory committee to determine how to best distribute the balance of the funds,” it wrote.

Sister Carmen is also accepting cash donations here. The American Red Cross, which is running the shelter at the YMCA, is accepting donations. There are many GoFundMe donation pages set up for individual families. You can find them here. (Note: We have not vetted any of these GoFundMe pages, and BOEM has said it is concerned about fraud. )

Toy donations

CU Science Discovery was collecting new and gently used LEGOs, games, books, puzzles and toys for families impacted by the Marshall Fire. On Jan. 4, it said it had reached capacity and was pausing donations for now. (Check the site for updates.)

It is now focused on distributing the toys over the next couple weeks, at the main branch of the Boulder Public Library and the Lafayette Public Library. Hours to pick-up toys are here.

Volunteer

Colorado Responds, a statewide disaster response initiative, is encouraging people to sign up to learn more about potential volunteer opportunities here and register in the volunteer database.

The group is now recruiting volunteer licensed mental health professionals to help those impacted by the wildfires. “In partnership with Spark the Change Colorado’s Mental Wellness Program, we are seeking licensed and insured mental health professionals to volunteer services on a pro bono basis,” it wrote. To volunteer, contact Kelly Groen at kgroen@sparkthechangecolorado.org.

According to BOEM, when volunteer opportunities become available they will be posted here.

The City of Louisville wrote in a Facebook post that it needs volunteers. Those who want to pitch in should email Erica Schmitt at eschmitt@louisvilleco.gov to be included in the city’s volunteer email lists.

Nosh Delivery is organizing a network of volunteers to help deliver food from its restaurants to those who are in need. You can sign up here.

The Buff Pantry is also looking for volunteers.

Jezy J. Gray

I’m the managing editor of the Boulder Reporting Lab. In addition to years of writing on the culture, politics and history of my home state of Oklahoma, I was the final editor-in-chief of the Tulsa Voice, a local bi-weekly newspaper where I led a small but mighty team of journalists to regional and national honors in feature writing, diversity reporting, LGBTQ+ coverage and more. I look forward to listening to and learning from the Boulder community as we work together on telling the stories that matter here.