Since Jan. 3, chef and restaurateur Hosea Rosenberg, his team at Blackbelly at 1606 Conestoga Street in Boulder and an army of volunteers have been collecting donations for those affected by the Boulder County fires. Donations have been distributed from the restaurant’s outdoor dining tent, which was converted into a temporary Marshall Fire Relief Center. Lots of donations have come in, including food, clothing, supplies and everything in between.
Although a number of his neighbors were affected by the fire, Rosenberg says a big motivation for him to jump in to help is the fact that the community has come together to support his family. “My wife [Lauren Feder] and I started our fund [Sophie’s Neighborhood] “two years ago, when we got the unfortunate diagnosis of our daughter’s ultra-rare disease, MCTO,” he explains. “The community really showed up to help us, and we felt this would be a wonderful way to give back.”
Unfortunately, on the morning of January 10, Rosenberg and his team opened the tent and found their own mini-disaster. Donation tables and exhibits had been searched, the back wall of the tent had been cut up, and many items had been stolen. Volunteers who had worked for days to organize and store the relief tent were discouraged to see their hard work ruined. Freshly prepared food was spilled all over the floor.
Families who lost everything had come to this tent to get warm clothes, food and basic amenities, and for those who volunteered, this had been the most rewarding experience of their lives, Rosenberg says. Seeing someone come in and purposefully destroy and steal from a really healthy endeavor was heartbreaking.
“I was obviously upset,” he adds. “The most outrageous thing of all is that this tent is set up to provide food, clothing and supplies away to those who need it. The front door was zipped up and could be easily opened. If anyone is in need – whether they have been hit by the fires or not – we are happy to give them what they want. They do not have to make a huge mess, cut the tent walls and steal. They just have to ask. “
Fortunately, the Blackbelly team is resilient. They shook it off, cleaned up and came back to support their communities and will continue to do so until January 14 at.
“A lot more good has happened than bad over here [at Blackbelly] this past week, “Rosenberg wrote in an Instagram post,” and I do not want anyone to think that we have given up humanity! ”