By Colorado and Houston, Texas, USA Relief Team (Originally in English)
Reported as the most destructive fire in Colorado’s history, the Black Forest Fire, north of Colorado Springs, Colorado, began June 11, 2013, destroyed 486 homes, claimed the lives of two people, and scorched over 14,000 acres. Other wildfires in June and July also damaged and threatened more areas in the state.
Upon hearing of the disaster, with heartfelt concern for those affected, Supreme Master Ching Hai contributed US$20,000 in relief funds and asked our local Association members to visit the afflicted areas and help those in need.
On June 26, a team from the Houston, Texas and Colorado Centers joined together to carry out the relief work. Our team first drove to the southwestern Colorado town of South Fork, where the risk of destruction from the West Fork Fire was high so the police had quarantined the area and prohibited visitors from entering. Fortunately, our team members met local resident Ms. Beverly Darrow, who volunteered to visit each house in the area and list the supplies most needed by the residents. In the meantime, our team visited the Upper Rio Grande Animal Society’s Conour Animal Shelter in the town of Monte Vista. During a tour of the facility, we saw many animals that had been lost or abandoned as a result of the fire. Our team members contributed US$2,500 from the relief fund to the shelter and also paid for US$1,144.61 for dog and cat food purchased by the shelter personnel.
Next, we purchased the supplies on Ms. Darrow’s list and packed them in individual gift bags. Ms. Darrow later met with the mayor of South Fork, who lifted the quarantine for members of the relief team. The mayor, Ms. Darrow, and her husband were happy to help in distributing the gift bags, which included gift cards to help purchase necessities, The Key of Immediate Enlightenment Sample Booklets, and SOS climate-change flyers. The recipients were delighted to receive the gifts, and expressed their deep gratitude to Supreme Master Ching Hai and our team members.
Toward the end of the day, our team was informed that many more people needed help, so we decided to stay in the area one more day to conduct additional relief work. Some members went to fire stations in South Fork and Del Norte to deliver vegan food and drinks, as well as supplies to the dedicated and courageous firefighters. Other members purchased more supplies for affected residents of South Fork who had just returned home.
Before saying good-bye, we prepared a vegan dinner and invited Ms. Darrow, her husband, and local residents to thank them for their help. The guests thoroughly enjoyed the meal and were surprised at how delicious the vegan food tasted. Our Association members also presented Ms. Darrow and Mr. Paul, a volunteer who provided our team with a place to stay, with gift cards as tokens of appreciation for their selfless assistance.
Ms. Darrow sent a thoughtful thank-you letter to Supreme Master Ching Hai expressing her gratitude for Master’s kindness and for the relief effort.
On June 28, our team traveled to heavily damaged Black Forest in east central Colorado and visited the Black Forest Animal Sanctuary, which was in need of much help. We took the staff to a supermarket to buy food and supplies for the animals. Furthermore, a contribution of US$1,000 from the relief fund was given.
Finally, the team distributed the remaining funds to the National Mill Dog Rescue (US$1,000) and the Ellicott Wildlife Rehabilitation Center (US$2,331) in Colorado Springs, which is near Black Forest.
Our deep gratitude, Supreme Master Ching Hai, for Your generosity, and for Your love and blessing during this relief work.
Also, special thanks, people of Colorado, for your thoughtfulness and assistance. May Heaven bless all the wonderful humans and animal co-inhabitants of this beautiful state.
Expenditures by Supreme Master Ching Hai
for Wildfire Relief Work in Colorado, USA
|Groceries, gift cards and supplies for those affected by the fire; food and supplies for firefighters; and food for Upper Rio Grande Animal Society’s Conour Animal Shelter||10,256.08||A|
|Cash contributions to Upper Rio Grande Animal Society’s Conour Animal Shelter, Black Forest Animal Sanctuary, National Mill Dog Rescue and Ellicott Wildlife Rehabilitation||9,743.92||B|
Throughout the relief operation, the team members paid for their own transportation, accommodations and food.