By Michael Abeyta

(CBS) — As firefighters continue to work to contain the East Troublesome Fire, the community is already preparing for recovery.

“We have lost countless homes,” says Cara McDonald, a Grand County resident. “It’s going to be such a long process.”

The first step in that recovery is making sure their friends and neighbors are taken care of.  It’s a project Cara took up even before the fire burned with her nonprofit, Outbreak of Kindness.

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“The outbreak of kindness was just you know, an impulse born from the shutdown,” she explains.

Cara says that when the county shut down for COVID-19 in the spring, she and some of her friends decided to collect food and bring it to people in need. Then the fire came along with evacuations and her job got a lot tougher.

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“We had to scale up instantly,” Cara says.

She asked the community for help and they filled the gym at Fraser Elementary School with food, clothing and toiletries for people to come get.

“And we’ve had so many people volunteer,” says Sondra Tilsley, a retired reverend who has been volunteering herself.

Sondra has been overseeing this new operation and she says the community has really come together for one another.

“Just in the last forty eight hours I think people have met people they didn’t know before and are working alongside each other,” says Sondra.

People keep dropping off donations while others come and take what they need. It’s the beginning of the recovery Grand County will do for themselves, but they will take all the help they can get.

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“If you love this area and you play in this area and you love the community that supports that we really need you to financially contribute if you can,” Cara says.

Cara says her organization really needs warm clothes because the weather is getting chillier — but they have to be new. They can’t take used clothes because of COVID-19. They also need ready to eat food and toiletries. What the need more than anything though is donations. You can click here to donate.

Michael Abeyta

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