Volunteers bring meals to families in hotels after Marshall Fire

Dozens of families who lost their homes as a result of the fire live out of hotels and many have no kitchen.

BOULDER COUNTY, Colorado — A month after the Marshall fire, dozens of families are living out of hotels as they work toward more permanent housing. Many do not have access to a kitchen and cannot make their own food. Now their neighbors step in to help them.

Amid so much change, a convoy of volunteers outside a hotel brings solace.

“The goal is to make their day a little bit easier,” said Kate Coslett, who organized the effort. “After the fires and what these people went through, I couldn’t help but think about these individuals and families who live in hotels.”

They call it Operation Hotel Sanity. Coslett came up with the idea of ​​giving home-cooked meals and other goods to the families who lost their homes.

“Anyone who has lived in a hotel for any length of time knows that hotel life loses its glamor after a week or two, especially under these circumstances,” Coslett said. “This community is just a beautiful community. They are so willing to stand up and give. My inbox just got flooded with people saying, ‘How can I help you?’”

Nearly 100 volunteers have signed up to help more than 60 families.

“We have volunteers who prepare meals and bring them to the guests here,” said Jill Factor, one of the volunteers.

They deliver food and goods to families in hotels in the neighborhoods where the Marshall fire struck.

“So that was really hard in the beginning, accepting help. So many people were like ‘what do you need?’ We didn’t even know what we needed. We need everything,” said Kelly Biala, who lost the house her family rented in the fire. “It was actually more helpful when they said, ‘We’re going to bring you food.’ And then we didn’t have to decide what we needed.”

The Homewood Suites have become home to Biala and her family after losing almost everything.

“If this happens and people bring us homemade food, it’s probably the best of our week,” Biala said. “There are just so many people who want to help us and so many of us who need help.”

A meal brings comfort, while a community recovers.

“I think we kind of forget about the everyday things that we take for granted, like having a home-cooked meal, having a kitchen to cook in,” said Alison Hubbard, one of the volunteers.

Fire survivors living in hotels can sign up for help here.

Sign up here to volunteer at Operation Hotel Sanity.

To donate items, visit the organization’s Amazon Wishlist.

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