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Want to help Colorado flood victims? Here's how

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The only thing rising faster than the floodwaters this past weekend are the natural urges of Coloradans to help out. The best source for information we've found is Help Colorado Now, a partnership between the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and Colorado Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster. "This initiative brings together government agencies and non-profit organizations so they may better assist communities affected by disasters," helpcoloradonow.org advises. And what kind of assistance is most needed? Money.

If you just want to make a monetary donation, you can always go with the Red Cross. But Help Colorado Now expands on your options. The state site advises:

FINANCIAL SUPPORT TO VOLUNTARY AGENCIES RESPONDING TO DISASTERS IS THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY TO HELP

To make a financial gift to the organization of your choice, CLICK HERE for a list of reputable agencies responding to disasters

Cash allows disaster agencies to purchase exactly what is needed

Member agencies of Colorado Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster do not promote one charity over another. Please donate to a charity of your choice

As for non-financial donations, it has these suggestions:

MATERIAL DONATIONS FOR DISASTERS

Donate ONLY those things that are requested by officials and bring them to the official designated collection centers

To list your material donation into the database, CLICK HERE. You will be contacted if your donation is needed

Meal donations from restaurants (no home cooked meals please) may be needed for some local personnel and organizations supporting response efforts. If you are with a restaurant and want to donate meals, CLICK HERE, and then wait to be contacted (never bring food to a site unless it is requested)

Items not needed may go to waste and get in the way of relief efforts

Donations for VACANT rental properties, vacation homes, can be listed through Colorado Housing Search. Please note donated rooms in homes can NOT be accepted

And it even has advice for donations of time and energy:

TO VOLUNTEER

DO NOT GO TO THE SCENE OF A DISASTER

Volunteers are NOT currently needed for flooding

You can enter your information HERE, and if a volunteer need is identified, you will be contacted by the agency that can utilize your skills

The arrival of unexpected volunteers will interfere with response efforts

STAY SAFE by volunteering with a reputable agency!

Volunteers will be needed most during the long-term recovery phase, which will last month/years. Please know, volunteers are still needed for flood risk mitigation for 2012 and 2013 disasters

Please be patient and WAIT until relief agencies can train you and use your help.

The only place this site falls short is in making suggestions for other ways to raise funds: yard sales? We know that Coloradans are not only generous, they're creative -- and we're hearing of many, many benefits being organized to help flood victims, including a telethon from 4:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Rocky Mountain PBS, featuring involvement by all the major local television stations. We'll run updates on those events as they come in; in the meantime, share information on any benefits in the comments section below.

For more on our flood coverage, see "Videos: Starling aerial footage of flooding in Lyons, Longmont."

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