The Southwest Colorado Disaster Assistance has activated in response to the COVID-19 public health crisis. The mission of SWCODA is to share resources and raise awareness during emergencies, matching those who want to help with those in need of assistance.
SWCODA is a repository of resources and information that shares the many ways people can receive assistance during this time, and how people and businesses can become involved and help.
The nonprofit, www.SWCODA.org, will provide up-to-date, accurate information and resources for those affected by the pandemic for the five-county region of Southwest Colorado, including La Plata, San Juan, Archuleta, Montezuma and Dolores counties. Community members and organizations are encouraged to share ideas and resources as the website and social media pages will be regularly updated.
The Community Emergency Relief Fund is set up for broad-based community emergencies in Southwest Colorado.
“Donations are now being accepted to deploy funds to community-based organizations directly responding to the most vulnerable members of our community,” said Briggen Wrinkle, executive director of Community Foundation Serving Southwest Colorado. “An advisory committee of local stakeholders will determine impactful ways to distribute funds to serve the people who need it the most.”
One of the first initiatives of CERF funding in response to the pandemic is a collaboration called “Save the Food, Serve the People.” CERF funds were used to pay restaurant workers to turn perishable food supplies into soups and other dishes to feed local residents.
“This creative solution brought forward by the Good Food Collective and funded in part by CERF is an example of what an amazing community we live in and how great it is to work together to create solutions,” said Dave Woodruff, general manager of El Moro and Durango chapter president of the Colorado Restaurant Association.
Additional CERF funding will address housing insecurity and economic stimulus.
“So much of our local economy relies on tourism dollars, and with much of the nation currently under shelter-in-place orders, many locals will struggle financially,” Wrinkle said.
The tourism economy is expected to rebound once precautionary measures slow the spread of COVID-19, said Rachel Brown, executive director of Visit Durango.
“We look forward to a time, hopefully in the near future, when our town will be full of visitors enjoying all that Southwest Colorado has to offer,” Brown said.
For more information, call MJ Carroll at 946-3891 about the SWCODA website; Wrinkle at 375-5807 about the Community Foundation and CERF Fund; Woodruff at 903-2403 for the Colorado Restaurant Association and local business information; and Brown at 235-0230 for Visit Durango and traveler information.
To donate to CERF, visit www.coloradogives.org/cerf or mail a check payable to the Community Foundation with CERF in the memo line to P.O. Box 1673, Durango, CO 81302.