In 2020 Colorado experienced record-breaking wildfires in several parts of the state. According to Colorado has a total of 418 Volunteer fire departments and recruits approximately 3,500 additional volunteer emergency responders to be fully staffed.

Pine Gulch Fire on August 8th, 2020. Image Courtesy of The Denver Post

These volunteer departments are dependent on community donations and occasional grants. As fires rage across the state these teams are overwhelmed, understaffed, and underequipped.

In these circumstances Janelle Cluff and Michelle Roethig, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints decided to take action. With the help of other sisters in their local congregation, and many neighbors who responded to Facebook posts, they amassed a large number of items.

Donated items included 18 cases of bottled water, 278 bottles of sports drinks, 88 bottles of eye drops, 56 packages of Mentholated cough drops, 126 packages of baby wipes, 204+ packs of Kleenex, 193 tubes of chapstick, 83 bottles of various sizes of Gold Bond powder, 90 tubes of diaper rash cream, 46 individual hand warmers, 4 nasal sprays, and too many granola bar / jerky / snack items too count.

Across the metro in Arvada, sisters of a different congregation had the same idea.

Ami Paulsen volunteered her home for a drop off point and was overwhelmed by the number of strangers in her neighborhood who responded to a request on Facebook by dropping off various supplies.

“In the middle of a pandemic neighbors and strangers gave willingly to support the brave men and women who are fighting to save homes.”

This donation went toward the Rist Canyon Volunteer Fire Department.


Liisa Payne who dropped off the supplies said, “The firefighters were overwhelmed with gratitude for our donations, both the hard supplies and the cash donations. As they unloaded our truck, they noticed a couple thank you notes someone had written to them and they stopped to take pictures of each little note.”

As we move into phase two of Governor Jared Polis’ Safer At Home Initiative, many houses of worship have begun to reopen with safety guidelines in place. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, however, remains closed for in-person worship. Local congregations, or wards, of The Church, eagerly await direction from local Church authorities on even tighter safety precautions required to reopen their doors. Members of these wards are particularly ready to join each other in worship because they partake in the sacrament each Sunday and listen to talks prepared by other members- not paid clergy. This makes for internet-based meetings impossible and discouraged by Church leadership. Some members have been able to partake in the sacrament at home, while others rely on special deliveries by other members each week. 

One member, Charlotte Alan, recently moved out of the area but doesn’t mind the 40-minute drive back to Boulder each Sunday. With the in-person services suspended, however, Sundays have looked a lot different. “It can be really difficult to focus my attention on feeling the Spirit and remembering the sacrifices Christ has made for me when I am taking the bread and water in the mailroom of an apartment complex next to a vending machine. However, I am so grateful for these sacrament deliveries because they are crucial to my faith. My ward is small- only about 50 regular members, so I hope we get the green light to return to the church building soon”. 

Though church services haven’t gone online for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, some members in the area got together to create a 12 part series named “Hear Him” in which they talk about their faith and share ways they can hear Christ and understand the gospel in more depth. They have also hosted numerous “member challenges”, the most recent is an action a day to become more kind. The Hear Him video series and Kindness Challenge can be found on their Facebook page “Church of Jesus Christ Boulder”.

#HearHim Alan

How do you #HearHim?

Posted by Church of Jesus Christ Boulder on Sunday, May 17, 2020