Flood victims in need of supplies or some financial assistance in the form of gift cards can visit Catholic Charities emergency distribution centers set up in Greeley and Milliken.
For a town like Windsor that wasn’t hit hard by the flooding, residents and the Windsor-Severance Re-4 School District are doing their share to help the flood victims throughout Weld County.
Whether it’s food drives, collecting supplies, adopting a school with flood victims or volunteering at a church through Catholic Charities, help and assistance are flowing out of Windsor to Milliken, Johnstown, Kersey, Evans and other areas.
Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church in Windsor has been the main emergency distribution hub for Catholic Charities USA, and the church’s parishioners were volunteering to the tune of 10 church members per hour from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. this past week. That ended Friday.
Other emergency distribution centers through Catholic Charities are at St. Mary’s Church in Greeley, St. John the Evangelist Church in Loveland and one across from the town hall and police station in Milliken.
As of today , Loveland will no longer be a distribution center and the church in Windsor will serve as the main warehouse but will not provide assistance directly to victims. The Greeley and Milliken locations will still remain open.
Flood victims are encouraged to visit the distribution centers in Greeley and Milliken. More than 137 people were helped out at the Milliken center Thursday, the first day it was open.
Items at the distribution center that have filled up Our Lady of Valley’s parish hall include: AmeriCares family emergency kits, water coolers, trash cans, gloves, cleaning buckets, sports drinks, water, paper towels, disinfecting wipes, meal boxes, boxes of crackers and other items.
Church member Ralph Moore of Windsor said he’d been looking for something to do, and he didn’t hesitate when he found out about helping the flood victims.
Moore said he saw how many people helped Windsor when it was hit by the 2008 tornado, and it’s sort of Windsor’s way of paying people back.
“In a sense, yes. I would hope if I’m providing some help I don’t expect any help, but maybe it will happen for my wife and me someday,” Moore said.
Carolyn Rainbolt, emergency assistance manager for the Guadalupe Community Center in Greeley, is coordinating the efforts for Catholic Charities. She said she’s amazed at the number of volunteers in Windsor.
“I’ve never seen so many people come forward so easily and do so much work,” Rainbolt said.
Larry Smith, CEO of Catholic Charities for the archdiocese of Denver, said: “A lot of people affected by the floods have pretty much lost everything. What we’re trying to do is not just provide the material essentials of food and clothing, hygiene kits and first-aid kits, water, but also gift cards that will allow them to get additional items they may need from a Walmart or Target, some of the grocery stores, or gasoline.
“We ask people to fill out a very short information sheet that tells us where they live and what’s happened to them. If they tell us they have a need, we provide the help. We aren’t trying to qualify everybody with a financial spreadsheet. We just want to know that they need help, and then we provide it, pretty much no questions asked.”
Smith said the response from volunteers has been great.
“We’ve gotten a tremendous response,” Smith said. “On Saturday (Sept. 21), we had probably 100 volunteers show up (in Windsor) to unload four or five different semi-tractor trailers full of supplies, and that is continuing. We’ve just had a phenomenal response from the people of Windsor and Our Lady of the Valley, and that’s been the case at St. John’s in Loveland and St. Mary’s as well. The people of Greeley have been really helpful in responding to our needs. We can’t thank them enough for all that they’ve done.”
Our Lady of the Valley pastor the Rev. Gregg Pedersen said it’s special for the church to be able to help.
“It is great that we are able to give back,” Pedersen said. “We do know what it’s like to be in need. It’s great to be on the giving end.”
Barbara Carranco, a member of the church and volunteer at the distribution center in Windsor, said she just wants to help.
“These people need it. When I need help, maybe they’ll give it to me,” Carranco said. “That’s all there is to it.”