Evacuated children at the Loveland Embassy Suites received more kindness from the community Wednesday, this time in the form of toys, school supplies and more.
Serve 6.8, a Christian nonprofit organization that “specializes in mobilizing, resourcing and connecting the local church to care for people in Northern Colorado,” put together bags of supplies to give to children at the hotel in east Loveland where evacuees from the Northern Colorado wildfires are staying.
The bags contained notebooks, folders, pens and pencils, crayons, a stuffed animal or ball and other smaller items.
Mike Walker, executive director of Serve 6.8, said the organization has been working to get in touch with families to provide resources including food, clothing, legal representation and financial help.
“It is important for families to know that they are not isolated and they are not alone, that there are people down in this community that want to embrace them,” Walker said. “It is important for them to have the normalcy of some kind of routine (and) to be a kid.”
Walker said while some of the supplies in the bags were donated by Serve 6.8 donors, many of the toys were from the ministry’s supply of toys for its adopt-a-family program.
Claire Smith, a volunteer who helped deliver the bags, said doing so shows the kids that they are not forgotten and that people “all over this area are thinking of them and wishing the best for them.”
Phil Smith added that the donations also will give the children something to do while they are stuck in the hotel.
“We are all just one big community in Northern Colorado; we help each other,” Phil Smith said. “I am fortunate enough right now that I don’t have any major issues, and so I am glad to help these kids who are stuck in a different position, and they are really good people. I am sure if the shoe was on the other foot they would be helping me.”
Becky Palfreeman, another delivery volunteer, said between the fires and the impacts of the pandemic, kindness and the gift bags will help the children make it through a tough time.
“Just the fact that kids can be very unsettled with these things and not really understand what is going on, to have something for them that they can play with and something they can do their school work on will make them feel safe,” Palfreeman said.
As people lined up for a free Red Cross meal, children were able to grab a bag before going back to their rooms. Carrie Drobnick, whose family of five was evacuated from the Buckhorn area and has been staying at the Embassy Suites for the past two weeks, said it’s awesome what Serve 6.8 and other groups and community members have done.
“It was nice for (my kids) to see other people out there that are not involved with the fire are there to help us,” Drobnick said, adding that it helped her show her children a fundamental lesson that she wants them to learn: “If you put good out, good comes back to you.”
Serve 6.8 is setting up resource centers at Northern Colorado churches where people affected by the fires can go to receive “food, clothing, resource care navigation and prayer,” according to the organization’s website, serve68.org, which lists the centers’ times and locations. A resource center will be open 5-6:30 p.m. Thursday at Foundations Church, 1380 N. Denver Ave. in Loveland.