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Recent hardships in Colorado merit CFC donations

2013 Combined Federal Campaign Logo

The Combined Federal Campaign is underway now.

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Everyone has their good and bad days. For some Colorado Springs-area families the last few years have been especially challenging. It's during these tough times local charities step in to help; but organizations require funding to continue their good work.

The Combined Federal Campaign is an annual program which allows federal employees to give to the organizations of their choice. This is the time of year when the charities are able to get the support they need allowing them to do the most good.

Just last year the Colorado Springs area was racked with natural disasters, including the Black Forest Fire in June and the state-wide flooding in September.

The Black Forest Fire destroyed 486 homes and damaged 37 more. During the fire, 94,000 acres and 13,000 were evacuated, affecting 38,000 people. Many people had no place to go.

It was the same story for the floods that followed just a few months later. The Front Range from Colorado Springs to Fort Collins received 17 inches of rain in a week, causing a state of emergency in 14 counties. About 11,000 people were evacuated and 19,000 homes damaged.

"On top of that, we saw the difficulties many of our colleagues dealt with due to sequestration and furloughs," said Maj. Nathan Maertens, CFC installation project officer. "We've just been hit hard lately."

With these natural disasters and so many other hardships Coloradans have endured, there are charities providing a helping hand. CFC has a lot of charities that supported the community during the tough times, Maertens said.

"A lot of times when we think about natural disasters, we think about the financial and physical devastation, but we forget about the psychological component," he said. "Having a stranger provide shelter, a warm meal or take care of your pet can make a world of difference. That's what these charities do."

CFC makes is very simple to donate, Maertens explained. By searching the CFC charity booklet, or the CFC website, those considering giving can find many local charities to support.

"We can go through that book to find the charities that most resonate with us and we can give to them through the CFC," he said.

Some people may not know the stress of having to deal with tough situations. Whether it is a natural disaster, a family member with cancer, military veterans suffering from PTSD, or a homeless person trying to find a job there is a charity organization to help.

Maertens said we should pay it forward now because, if the tables were turned, we would welcome the assistance.

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