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Cash donations great way to help Black Forest Fire first responders, volunteers and those who lost everything

Doing some homework on ways to donate and contribute to the Black Forest Fire victims, first responders and volunteers.

First a quick digression: Did you ever slide cash into somebody's birthday card and mail it to them? It never felt right to me, as if I didn't take the time to consider the person, or shop for the perfect gift. But I can tell you that I'm always happy to receive cash because I can purchase anything I want with it, running shoes, a nice dinner, underwear or gasoline.

Back to the moment. The people fighting and those affected by the vicious Black Forest Fire, need that same flexibility. If you want to help, financial gifts are great.

Charitable agencies have strong buying power. And they act quickly, providing goods and resources when and where they're needed. An example: Care and Share can buy much more food with your $10 contribution than you can. Of course, it's a good idea to donate the non-perishable items Care and Share needs. But cash is king.

I learned this lesson first-hand three weeks ago when I delivered 500 pairs of running shoes to Oklahoma tornado victims. The shoe contributions were needed, of course, and the system for distributing the shoes was excellent. But the No. 1 need was cash.

Check out these websites for links and instructions on how to make donations.

The Pikes Peak Community Foundation Emergency Relief Fund: From the website, "The Pikes Peak Community Foundation launched the Emergency Relief Fund for the Pikes Peak Region on Tuesday to benefit non-profits, first responders, and other agencies providing local disaster relief. The fund is modeled on last year’s Waldo Canyon Firefighters Fund, which received an outpouring of community support, but was limited to the Waldo Canyon fire. The Emergency Relief Fund for the Pikes Peak Region will have more flexibility to quickly respond to the community's needs."

HelpColoradoNow.org: From the website, "Financial support to voluntary agencies responding to the disasters is the most effective way to help." Check out this video to learn why your monetary gift works for people who need help.

The Pikes Peak Humane Society: From the web, "Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region stands ready to assist in caring for animals during emergencies like the Black Forest Fire. At this time we are adequately equipped with resources and trained volunteers, but monetary donations can help us cover extensive costs such as veterinary care and rescue missions. Thank you for your support!

Care an Share Food Bank of Southern Colorado: From the website, "Care and Share will host a collection drive for our neighbors in Southern Colorado that have been affected by the recent fires. Through Saturday, June 15 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., we will collect non-perishable food and financial donations at both of our Colorado Springs and Pueblo facilities. To make a text donation, text "Donate" to 41010 and a $10 donation will appear on your next phone bill."

The Salvation Army: From the website, "Yesterday, The Salvation Army provided 4,000 meals and 13,000 additional food and hydration items in response to requests for relief aid in multiple fires across Colorado.  200 Salvation Army volunteer hours were logged across wildfires."

If you know of other agencies in need of cash donations for the Black Forest Fire victims, first responders and volunteers, please e-mail tim.bergsten@gmail.com.

If we learn of material items that are needed, we'll pass that info along ASAP.

Check out this Facebook Page for specifics https://www.facebook.com/ColoradoBlackForestFire2013.

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