Need snow tires? Clothes? A fridge? How a Facebook post spurred Summit County residents to give to others
Edgar Hernandez has lived his life trying to help others. But rarely has he asked for help himself.
Hernandez, a 27-year-old Summit County resident, pondered this paradox when he made a social media post Dec. 4 with the question: “What is one thing you NEED that you cannot afford right now?
“Let’s check and see what others say,” the post continued. “Maybe you have it and don’t need it or have a connection to get it.”
The post garnered attention within minutes. As of Wednesday morning, Dec. 14, it has more than 260 likes and 320 comments between residents exchanging clothes, furniture, appliances and myriad other necessities — all of it free of charge.
Even those who couldn’t give exactly what someone asked for did what they could to make ends meet.
“Snow tires,” asked one commentator. “I don’t have snow tires, but I have chains that I believe will fit your car. Never been used,” another wrote back.
Those comments, Hernandez said, created a space for others to feel they could ask for help, something Hernandez said can often be hard to do in one’s daily life.
“It was very heartwarming to see,” Hernandez said. “A lot of those comments were people offering to give something rather than asking for what they actually needed.”
For Silverthorne resident Kristi Vogt, help came in the form of a new fridge after her’s stopped working. But she never expected the responses she got.
“Initially I just put it on as a joke not even thinking that anything like this was going to happen,” Vogt said.
Residents like Hernandez donated money to Vogt who was able to buy a new fridge within days. For her, it showed the intimacy and care of her community.
“It’s pretty amazing because as big as this county’s gotten it still has that small feel to it,” she said. “There are really good people that live up here.”
Erica Currey, a Dillon resident and administrator for the Facebook group One Man’s Junk Summit County, where the post was made, said the kindness extends beyond the page to the county as a whole.
“People want to help with what they can, and they may not have a lot but they give what they can,” Currey said.
Hernandez said he has long felt that sense of community in Summit.
Born in Mexico City, Hernandez moved to Colorado while in the fourth grade after his father, Fabian, took a job as a chef at the Great Northern Tavern in Keystone. Inspired by his father’s love for food, Hernandez went on to pursue a career in the service industry beginning at age 17 when he worked for La Française French Bakery in Breckenridge.
Since then, Hernandez has served as a chef and manager for several restaurants, including some in the Denver area. He currently works as a manager at Enza’a Delicatessen & Market in Silverthorne.
While Hernandez always felt endeared to Summit’s charm and tight-knit feel, he didn’t realize the extent its community would go to for him until his family suffered a personal tragedy. Hernandez’s father died five years ago.
Beloved by those in the restaurant industry and beyond, Hernandez said residents “showed up to our doors at our house with food packages and donations.” Others offered to help clean or support the family in other ways.
“It was a huge, huge help to us,” Hernandez said, adding that his father instilled in him a passion for serving others.
“He was always the first one to jump up whenever somebody needed something, he was always the first one to be there, whether it was money, help, a ride,” Hernandez said. “So that’s where I feel like a lot of the love towards the community from us came from. We learned from him.”
When he made his Facebook post, Hernandez said he “wanted to give back to the community.” He’d been helped a lot, he said, and knew the need from others would be out there. He never expected it would get the level of attention it did.
“I made the post while I was working,” he said, “and about 20, 30 minutes later I had to be like ‘Hey, sorry if I’m spending too much time on my phone but just so you know I made this post and it’s blowing up.’”
For Currey, the Facebook group admin, she isn’t surprised.
“I see a lot of the time that the community really will come together and help somebody out if they need it,” she said.
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