Boulder Eatery Dining Tent Becomes Disaster Relief Site | Colorado News

By COLLEEN SLEVIN, Associated Press

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) – After losing her home and everything it contained in a wildfire that destroyed her entire neighborhood, Abby McClelland wanted to buy clothes for her 4-year-old daughter.

Picking up a large Ikea grocery bag on Tuesday, she walked around a tent that normally serves as an outdoor dining area at Hosea Rosenberg’s Blackbelly Restaurant in Boulder, its tables lined with neat piles of sweaters, hats, shirts and napkins. .

There were also boxes of diapers, toiletries and coat racks containing coats. Music from singer Sade was played through speakers as McClelland and her husband filled the bag under the tent’s glittering chandelier. Huge coolers held food cooked by the restaurant’s chefs.

The Rescue Center is one of many places that have sprung up to help people who lost their homes when last week’s wildfire ravaged parts of the nearby towns of Superior and Louisville.

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Rosenberg closed his restaurant over the New Years weekend to give his employees a break and decided to remain closed to host the donation center in the restaurant’s parking lot tent to give back to a community that supported him in difficult times.

He said his efforts were in part in response to the generosity he received at the start of the pandemic in March 2020, when people rallied to donate and raise funds for research after his daughter 2 year old was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition just as restaurants were forced to close.

“It was really heartwarming to see how much people cared and wanted to help,” Rosenberg said.

This week, Boulder’s Mikki Salvetti stopped by the Blackbelly tent with a laundry basket full of clothes to donate to fire victims and to offer to volunteer after seeing a post about the center on social media .

As Salvetti can work remotely and has no children, she was also considering moving to live with her mother in Pittsburgh so that a family who lost their home could move into their home temporarily.

“It’s just to do something like that,” she said.

With more snow on the way, McClelland mainly came to get a coat for his daughter so that she could play outside, build snowmen and throw snowballs and “go on living a life.”

Dressed in clothes she hastily purchased from Target, McClelland said it was always difficult to convince herself that she needed to replace all of her possessions.

She and her family were not at home when the fire broke out and she was not allowed to return to her home in the Sagamore neighborhood of Superior, which was destroyed by the blaze. Not being able to see the destruction makes her loss unreal, she said.

“I have a feeling that we are in an airport and our luggage got lost and that I will be coming home very soon and all my things will be there,” she said.

McClelland has said she doesn’t want to make big decisions right now, like whether or not she and her husband will rebuild their house.

She also said she couldn’t imagine being comfortable in an area where everything, including the trees, had burned down and the community she knew was gone.

But McClelland said she couldn’t imagine not living again where her daughter learned to walk and cycle.

“Leaving all of this behind seems unthinkable,” she said.

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