Dear Foothills community,
In the last few weeks, Colorado has seen a large influx of migrants. The impact in Denver is so significant, the mayor has declared a state of emergency. This became more localized to northern Colorado Sunday afternoon, when busses with about 60 newcomers arrived in Fort Collins – mostly from Venezuela. This represents just over 40 households, with just two children in the group, as the trip was too dangerous for most children to make.
Although you’d have good reason to wonder if all this is just an elaborate fable to help bring home the message of the Christmas story, it’s very real!
The migrants arrived in Fort Collins in coordination with Larimer County, who is attempting to relieve Denver County as their shelter resources have become extremely limited, especially in light of the extreme cold predicted this week. County Emergency Services are invoked through the weekend, after which these 60 migrants will need to have identified a more permanent landing place – either here, or in Denver, or somewhere else. Of the 60 individuals, about 20 have stated their desire to remain in northern Colorado and to begin to settle here; the others hope to reunite with family and friends across the country.
Foothills is grateful to be working alongside a network of non-profit and governmental organizations as well as other faith communities to address both the emergency/immediate needs over the next few days, as well as to help in identifying and coordinating these longer-term plans.
We would love your help in meeting the emergency needs. Here is a short list of what we have identified as critical in the next 3 days:
- Donations of the following supplies: Hygiene products; Over-the-counter pain and cold medications (items cannot be in bulk, must be meant for individual use); Backpack; Suitcases, especially those with wheels; pants and sweaters of all sizes.
- Because of the short turn around, we ask everyone to drop off their donations from this list at Alianza Norco, 2625 Redwing Road, Unit 160.
- If you have donations but cannot get them to Alianza, please respond to this email as we have volunteers willing to pick up your donations.
- All physical item donations must be received no later than December 25th.
- Financial donations to be used for gift cards and pre-paid cell phone minutes
- To facilitate and expedite these purchases, we have established this fund. All financial donations received by Saturday December 24th will be used to purchase gift cards and pre-paid cell phone minutes. These cards will be delivered directly to the newcomers on Christmas Day.
- You can also donate by text 84321, with the amount plus the word MIGRANT.
- Please help spread the word by inviting friends and family to make a donation to this fund in the next day or two.
- Drivers and/or vans for transportation:
- Initially, for local transportation – i.e. getting to the site where donations are in order to receive clothing and other needed items; or, going to Target or Walmart for supplies. Little to no Spanish speaking required.
- Transportation to DIA, including potentially assisting with getting around the airport. Some Spanish required.
- Direct support to individuals who need to sort out their transportation pathways from Fort Collins to another city. Must be bilingual.
- Bilingual Spanish/English speakers who would be able to help as needed over the next few days.
If you are interested in helping with any of the above, please complete this form by Thursday Dec 22nd at noon so that we can coordinate our efforts and provide better support.
After this initial response we will then turn our attention to settlement support for those who decide to stay in Fort Collins. Our Sanctuary Everywhere team, who regularly support migrant families, has already begun this work, and in the first week of January we will send out additional information about how to participate.
Thank you all so much for helping our community be a welcoming place for all who seek shelter, and for living out the message of the Christmas story! Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns.