On December 30, 2021, the Marshall Fire ripped through my neighborhood in Boulder County, Colorado, with winds recorded at 115 miles per hour. The devastation was catastrophic, with over 1,000 of my community’s homes completely destroyed.
My husband and I were watching the news, and it grieved me to see what had happened to our neighbors. We had previously lived in an area where friends had lost their homes, so we knew how devastating this was for a family. I prayed right then, asking God how I could help, how to make a real impact in this disaster.
And I got a clear message from the Lord almost immediately. I was instructed to help kids affected by this tragedy by refurbishing their bedrooms at no cost to the family; to give them their dream space to feel comfortable and safe, to give them hope and some degree of happiness.
When I shared this with my husband, he was stunned at the magnitude of this message. He asked how we would ever be able to undertake such a monumental task for even one child, much less so many kids that had been affected.
I said I’d keep praying about it. After a couple days, I felt a huge nudge from God to move ahead and that He’d somehow provide the funds and support for such a project. So I put my faith in the Lord and pressed on.
It started with one family that I’d met through the Marshall Fire Community Facebook Group. I posted their needs to my personal Facebook page and almost immediately had the funds and then some to build two kids’ bedrooms. Before I officially “launched” my idea, I reached out to about 20 of my closest friends, three of which were born and raised in the neighborhoods that the Marshall Fire destroyed. When everyone said to go for it and they’d help, we decided to go all in.
It was an incredible feeling, knowing that so many believed we could take on such a huge project.
That night, I formed a Facebook group which described what we had done and asked anyone needing help to fill out this application. By the time I woke up the next morning, I had 29 local families crying out for help.
And that’s how Hope Lives Here Colorado began. Our goal is to help the children affected by this tragedy feel safe in their new dream bedrooms by providing beds, bedding, decorations and some of their favorite things. To give them a taste of “normal”. These kids lost all of their Christmas gifts, all their favorite toys to snuggle with, all the things that were important to them.
We needed to work quickly to fix up these bedrooms since so many of these kids were still sleeping on the floor or in a hotel. We found the fastest way to do this was to just request monetary donations and purchase everything needed all at once. Then our team of 13 core volunteers and I could quickly refurbish that child’s bedroom.
So far, our team has refurbished 52 dream bedrooms for children. But the needs are overwhelming. We have another 123 children on the list. And there are countless families that have asked if we can do this once they get their burned house in a position to have us furnish their child’s bedroom.
I can see God’s hand in all of this. We rely totally on donations from the public and it costs between $1,500 and $2,000 per bedroom. We vowed to keep helping local families and making dream bedrooms until we run out of money. When funds started to get low and I thought we may have reached the end of our efforts, our local news station, Denver7, donated $50,000 for us to continue our work. Other local companies and churches have continued to sponsor bedrooms.
I was renting a U-Haul van for the first five weeks of our efforts. It is a must-have to transport all of the supplies for the bedrooms but it was quite expensive. I began telling friends and family that we needed a van donated. After our story aired on the CBS Evening News, the most incredible thing happened. Fluid Truck Share, a company that rents trucks by the hour or the day, contacted me out of the blue and said they wanted to donate a van to me to use for as long as I was able to help our local families. That saved us $1,800 per month.
I have been overwhelmed with the feeling that I have His support. God asked me to do this and I feel I’m walking with Him at each step along the way.
It has been an incredible journey. To see the joy on a child’s face when we reveal his or her bedroom for the first time is indescribable. They’re always going to remember that their house burned down, but I wanted them to also be able to look back and remember the day they got a brand new bedroom and the community came together, people they didn’t even know. They showed love and created an amazing space for them.
Where will the Lord take this? I’m just along for the ride. But we’re already getting requests to do this for families who have a child with cancer or who have been victims of domestic abuse.
I feel like I’m being used by God to help these people and bring the community together. This has given me a wonderful glimpse that humanity and kindness still exist. And my kids are getting to witness me being part of this and seeing the value of giving back and helping our neighbors.