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CSUCares helping High Park Fire victims cope

June 29, 2012
By Tony Phifer

New fund is helping members of the CSU community recover from the devastating effects of the High Park Fire.

More than 100 members of the CSU family were forced to evacuate their homes due to the High Park Fire. CSU has offered assistance in many ways, including opening its Pingree Park campus to firefighters.A CSU faculty member who also serves as a volunteer firefighter fought to save neighbors’ homes while his own was destroyed by the High Park Fire. CSUCares provided help with living expenses while he and his family try to get back on their feet.

A CSU student and volunteer firefighter, who also lost his house while helping others, received a grant from CSUCares, allowing him to take a few days off from his minimum-wage job to return to the front lines to battle one of the most destructive fires in the state’s history.

Another CSU employee lost her home, and CSUCares helped pay for her child’s daycare while she searches for housing.

Hope in the face of tragedy

One faculty member lost everything in the fire but found comfort in the support offered by CSU.

“CSU has been amazing through all of this. We are so proud and grateful to be a part of this community.”

Another CSU student, who is in the middle of a summer course, was offered the loan of a laptop after her family was evacuated from their home. Even though the family managed to get back to their home to gain computer access, they were nonetheless thankful.

“The help from CSU is so wonderful; I never knew a university would support its students this way. Even though we ended up not using the computer, it reduced the stress 100 fold, and in a stressful situation, any stress relieving is worth a fortune!”

More than 100 evacuated

These are just a few of the stories about members of the CSU family impacted by the High Park Fire. More than 100 CSU employees and students were evacuated – some since the beginning of the fire June 9 – and many have lost their homes to the flames, leaving families homeless and seeking help to get back on their feet.

That’s why CSUCares was created. The money, donated by CSU employees and community members, helps those impacted by the fire pay for emergency expenses like food, housing, gas, vehicle repairs and other issues.

More support needed

To date, more than $16,000 has been allocated to help those in the CSU community. A committee of CSU employees reviews applications as quickly as possible so emergency funds can be distributed in a timely fashion.

The need greatly exceeds the amount of money collected, and more requests for assistance come in daily. Each gift, however, is impactful. One retired employee, after hearing his application for assistance had been approved, said “This is the first time I’ve smiled in 10 days.”

CSUCares is accepting cash and credit card donations, and employees can donate via payroll deduction. The fund will remain in place to support future disaster recovery needs within the CSU community.