DENVER — Winter weather is approaching as Denver assesses how to best serve the influx of migrants arriving in the city. A group of neighbors in northeast Denver is stepping up to help.
"This is three days," said Rebecca Ward, rummaging through plastic and paper bags.
It's been a week since Ward heard the news that nearly 100 migrants had arrived in her northeast Denver neighborhood.
"I immediately just wanted people to welcome them," said Ward, fighting back tears. "Somebody had to do it, right?"
Ward wasn't alone in her desire to step into action.
"Everybody was so kind, and everybody was trying to figure out how they can help," she said.
Ward contacted Brad Revare, a leader in her registered neighborhood organization, to glean how to best assist the migrants.
"So we got in touch with some of our local officials and representatives, and really tried to put together a plan. How can we spur this neighborhood into action? Because there was such intense interest after the news story broke," Revare said.
City leaders encouraged donations of cold weather apparel — many of the migrants have traveled from Central and South America, where the climate is much warmer.
Revare and Ward made posts on social media asking community members for donations. FlyteCo Tower, also located in northeast Denver, offered to be a collection site.
"We have a coffee shop that's open at 7 a.m. So in exchange for every coat that's donated, we're giving a card that's good for one free coffee," said Morgan O'Sullivan, co-founder of FlyteCo. "This community is so well connected with each other and with what's going on in the world right now. It makes us feel really good to be a part of it, even in some small way, just as the drop-off location. To be able to see something like this be mobilized so quickly is great."
Ward estimated nearly 80 jackets had been dropped off as of Monday evening.
Donations will be collected through the end of the month during the brew pup's operating hours. Come late December, Ward plans to bring the clothing to Arc Thrift Stores. The stores will work with various nonprofits across the state to provide vouchers to the migrants — allowing them to pick out a jacket of their choosing.
"To be allowed to choose your own stuff, it's humane," Ward said.
The City of Denver has also coordinated its own donation drop-off location.