Stimulus checks have started to arrive in bank accounts, and while some Coloradans need the money to help them pay their rent and bills, others want to pay it forward.
“The stimulus check is extra for us,” said Andrea Furlong of Evergreen. She added that she and her husband Ed could save the money or take a vacation once the pandemic slows. “But there are so many people that are in so much need right now that that would just be obscene.”
The Furlongs said they’re near retirement and have plenty of food and a warm house to stay in. Andrea is concerned about people who don’t have those things, so the couple will probably donate some of the money to a food bank. They hope it encourages other Coloradans to do the same.
“If you don’t need the money then you can pass it on and pay it forward,” Ed said.
“And it’s a way to not feel so helpless,” Andrea added.
There are lots of ways to give. Colorado’s Attorney General’s Office has guidance for how to vet a charity and avoid fraud. Be sure to research an organization and be extra vigilant before donating anything. Organizations that pressure you to donate or don’t provide proof that a contribution is tax-deductible could be red flags.
In the spirit of the Furlongs, here are a few ways you can give:
- Colorado COVID Relief Fund: This is run by the state and Mile High United Way. It provides aid to organizations and communities affected by the virus.
- Operation Family Meal: They support laid-off service industry workers affected by COVID-19 restaurant closures. Monetary donations support free meals and therapy sessions, and donations of supplies and food are also appreciated.
- The Denver Foundation Critical Needs Fund: This group supports organizations highly-impacted by the virus. Their primary focus is on housing, food insecurity and health care.
- The Action Center In Jefferson County: The Action Center isn’t accepting new volunteers because of the pandemic, but they’re offering modified food and mail services. People can donate non-perishable food, clean reusable bags and toiletries.
- The Salvation Army: The Salvation Army has more than a dozen locations around Colorado. The organization is in need of non-perishable food and baby diapers and wipes. Volunteers are needed to drive and box food.
- COVID19 Denver Restaurant/Worker Relief GoFundMe: The owners of Daughter Thai Kitchen & Bar are working with influential people in the food industry to raise money for workers at independent and family-owned restaurants.
- Check with your local place of worship: Even though churches, mosques and temples are closed, many are still running food drives and other donations. Some are even collecting PPE for health care workers.
- Weld Food Bank: The food bank is still collecting non-perishable food items. Monetary donations are also accepted. They are also in need of volunteers.
- American Red Cross: If you aren't able to donate money, you can donate blood, and the Red Cross is also looking for people who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate plasma.