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Colorado fights to stay strong, as organizations offer aid during the Coronavirus crisis.
Colorado fights to stay strong, as organizations offer aid during the Coronavirus crisis.
Evan Semon

Denver Resources for Essential Workers, Business Owners, Parents and Donors

Nearly every industry is hurting right now. COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on Colorado's economy, impacting everyone from out-of-work entertainers and hospitality providers to strained health-care professionals and struggling business owners.

Although times are hard, local organizations are stepping up to offer their assistance. Here are just some of the those organizations lending a hand, from one-time events to ongoing programs.

April 1 and 8 "Keeping Your Business Together in a Crisis" Webinar from the Small Business Development Center
The Boulder branch of the Colorado SBDC is offering an online educational series to help small-business owners understand and overcome hurdles during the coronavirus pandemic. This free online series includes a "Defensive Marketing" webinar on April 1, and an "Adapting Your Business" webinar on April 8. Register online with the Boulder SBDC.

Ongoing Assistance: Caring for Denver Colorado COVID-19 Support Fund
The Caring for Denver Foundation is offering grants and staff support for health-care workers who provide services for mental health and substance-misuse professionals. These services include an emergency child-care program for those supporting critically at-risk populations; funding to support self-care, crisis intervention and access to behavioral health for those caring for critically ill homeless populations; and help for providers working on mental health and substance-misuse issues so that they can continue to serve at-risk populations. For more information on these funding opportunities, visit Caring for Denver's website or follow Caring for Denver on Facebook.

Ongoing Assistance: Benefits in Action
Benefits in Action is dedicated to improving Coloradans' understanding of, access to and utilization of health care. This includes assistance for people in any income bracket who need help applying for health-care benefits, as well as assistance for residents seeking food resources such as SNAP, local food banks or food pantries, or food delivery service. If you need help paying for heat or utilities, or you're homebound and struggling with loneliness, BIA is also ready to help via regular telephone outreach. If you or someone you know needs help, call 720-221-8353 or send an email to info@benefitsinaction.org.

Ongoing Assistance: Community Reach Center
The Community Reach Center is offering mental health treatment in person and via audio-video telehealth options. If you or someone you know is experiencing mental distress, call 303-853-3500 for information and to find the nearest care facility. The Community Reach Center's intake process involves an initial conversation and discussion of your medical coverage. However, anyone who needs immediate help will not be turned away.
Additionally, Behavioral Health Urgent Care at 2551 West 84th Avenue in Westminster is open around the clock, as is a 24-hour crisis line. Call 1-844-493-TALK (8255) or text TALK to 38255 to speak with a professional.

Ongoing Assistance: Denver Public Schools Resources for Families and Students
The Denver Public Schools system is providing two major services for students, families and the community at large. First, DPS is handing out free breakfasts and lunches from a variety of metro area locations (more details here) from 8 to 9 a.m. and 12 to1 p.m. every weekday. Meals are for anyone who is hungry, not just families with children in the DPS system. Next week, meals will switch to a once-daily handout, from 11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Second, DPS is providing laptops, Internet hotspots, and other technology so students can access the Internet from home. In addition to these resources, the DPS website also offers at-home activities for students of various ages, "Supporting Students at Home" guides for parents, Rocky Mountain PBS special educational programming, and a guide on how to talk to kids about COVID-19. Visit Denver Public School's coronavirus web page for more information.

Ongoing Assistance: The National Domestic Help Hotline
Domestic-violence cases have increased in the wake of coronavirus, with partners and families spending more time together than ever, with more stress on their plates than usual. If you or someone you know is in an abusive environment, reach out to the National Domestic Help Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Responders are available 24 hours a day, in more than 200 languages. Live chat is also available online. All conversations are free and confidential. Find more information and resources for survivors of domestic abuse on the National Domestic Help Hotline's website.

Ongoing Assistance: Free YMCA Full-Day Child Care for First Responders, Medical Personnel and Essential Employees
The YMCA of Metro Denver is responding to the urgent needs in the local community by providing free, full-day child care for families of first responders, medical personnel and all essential workers who need care for their kids to enable them to perform their jobs and support their families. The program will provide kids with arts, crafts, games, physical activities, support with e-learning and supervision from the Y’s experienced staff. The YMCA is taking extraordinary precautions for the health and safety of the children, and nurses are on call throughout the day.  Emergency child care is offered Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. until 7 p.m. at the Schlessman Family YMCA at 3901 East Yale Avenue, the Susan M. Duncan Family YMCA at 6350 Eldridge Street in Arvada, the Southlands Teen Center at 6295 South Main Street, #104 in Aurora, the Southwest Family YMCA at 5181 West Kenyon Boulevard, and the Glendale Sports Center at 4500 East Kentucky Avenue. Parents must register children online in advance. YMCA membership is not required. Learn more and register here.

Colorado Emergency Childcare Collaborative
Under Updated Public Health Order 20-24, all of Colorado's essential workers have been granted tuition-paid child-care services. Learn about qualification criteria, apply for child care, offer your facility, or volunteer your services by visiting the COVID Childcare Colorado website.

Ongoing Assistance: Colorado COVID Relief Fund
This fund is committed to helping people who are disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Applications are now open, offering unrestricted general operating grants of up to $25,000. Learn more about the eligibility criteria and watch a step-by-step application guide online. Current grant application deadlines (contingent upon funding availability) are April 4, April 18, May 2, May 16 and May 30. Learn more by visiting the Colorado Health Foundation's website.

Ongoing Assistance: Philanthropy Colorado
This hub for local philanthropy is keeping an ongoing list of funds as they emerge across Colorado. Check in here for the latest COVID-19 fund updates.

Donate: Ayuda Colorado Fund
This rapid-response fund is supporting Latino-led and Latino-serving organizations, as well as immigrant and refugee-serving organizations with grants and leadership support. One hundred percent of all individual donations will go directly to grantee organizations. Make a contribution by visiting the Ayuda Colorado Fund online.

Donate: Den Cares
This food delivery service is connecting donors and restaurants to health-care professionals, allowing Coloradans to show their gratitude for workers on the frontl ines of the pandemic. Hospitals simply register with delivery instructions, restaurants register to be a provider, and donors call in orders to be delivered.  Learn more and sign up to participate on the Den Cares website.

We'll be updating this list regularly. Know of a good resource for those who need help? Send information to editorial@westword.com.

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