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Operation Hotel Sanity helping displaced families a month after the Marshall Fire

Marshall Fire destruction
Posted at 9:02 AM, Jan 31, 2022

DENVER — A hotel room is a difficult place to make a home. For hundreds displaced by the Marshall Fire, they are still living, sometimes as family units, in nearby accommodations as they wait to make their next move.

One organization is trying to bring some elements of home to those displaced to help them regain some semblance of the comforts that were lost in the blaze. Kate Coslett started Operation Hotel Sanity to deliver those comforts in person.

"I got on Facebook and I just just asked what can we do to make their lives a little better in the hotels," Coslett said. "This community is unbelievable. People just want to help. There was no shortage of volunteers or help."

One month after the fire, Coslett has organized more than 90 volunteers to deliver meals and supplies to 11 hotels. On Sunday, four of those volunteers delivered meals to a Homewood Suites just across from where the fires ravaged the Superior community.

"Food, to me, is like my love language. So, it just fills my heart to be able to give to my community," said Alexis Khan, a volunteer with Operation Hotel Sanity. "It could have very easily been my house, and I could be here hoping for a hot meal."

Many of the volunteers live in neighborhoods where the fires burned out neighbors homes. They see it as a random act of nature that very well could have affected them.

"The wind blew and the fires went where they went," said Jill Factor, a team organizer with Operation Hotel Sanity. "It could have been a block over and hit me instead of my neighbor."

The neighbors volunteering to help say a silver lining of the tragedy is that organizations like Operation Hotel Sanity are bringing their community closer together.

"We live blocks from each other and we would have never had this if social media not brought us together," said Diane Kirkpatrick, a volunteer. "This just shows how we're here to support one another in a time of this awful events."

Operation Hotel Sanity has set up a volunteer website for neighbors who want to donate time to help displaced Boulder County residents. They have also set up a hotel resident sign-up for anyone who would like to receive a home cooked meal from a volunteer.