By Pat Ferrier
FORT COLLINS, Colo. — A coffee shop started by a nonprofit adventure camp for kids is donating every penny spent there for the next month to two local volunteer fire departments involved in fighting the High Park Fire in June.
The Educo Coffee Shop opened a few weeks ago in the former Reader’s Cove coffee shop on Harmony Road next to Ace Hardware. Reader’s Cove closed in July, and the building’s landlord offered most of the space as a polling place through the Nov. 6 election.
An Educo supporter offered to fund the reopening of the coffee shop through Nov. 15. What happens to the shop after Nov. 15 depends on whether it can be self-supporting and if the landlord finds another tenant.
Because operating costs are being underwritten, the coffee shop is able to donate all money spent there to Glacier View and Rist Canyon fire departments.
The 144-acre Educo Leadership Adventures summer camp near Red Feather Lakes was shut down for about three weeks as the High Park Fire threatened, Educo executive director Brian Sense said. The fire stopped about a mile from the camp.
“We definitely had a lot of moments of fear during that whole crisis,” Sense said. “We wanted to provide for a lot of the volunteer fire departments that made the same sacrifices and had the same exposure to the fire and the commitment to stopping it.”
The bulk of the money likely will be headed to Glacier View, but Educo’s board of directors and its anonymous donor will determine how the money is divided, Sense said. “Glacier View is more of our neighbor but that doesn’t mean the other departments worked any less hard.”
The coffee shop has raised $3,000 for the two departments in its first few weeks of operation, Sense said.
Glacier View Fire Protection District Chief Greg Niswender said Monday he was unaware of Educo’s efforts on behalf of his department. But he wasn’t surprised — it’s another example of the kindness of strangers. “After everything that we’ve experienced during and after and through the High Park Fire, not much surprises me as to how generous people can be.”
Checks still are coming in for the volunteer fire department that lost 57 homes in its district when the wildfire jumped the Poudre River and swept through the 12th filing and part of the 9th in Glacier View and Deer Meadows, about 35 miles northwest of Fort Collins, on June 22.
Lightning sparked the fire that started June 9 in Rist Canyon. By the time it was over, the fire consumed more than 83,000 acres and claimed one life and 249 homes.
Thus far Niswender’s department has received $100,000 in donations from all over the world, including one that just came in Monday — $128 from some kids that sold coffee and doughnuts and donated everything they made, he said.
“As I go through and send thank-you letters out, it’s pretty amazing,” Niswender said. The department hopes to leverage donations with grants to help replace some of its aging fire equipment.
Republished with permission from the Coloradoan