Mountain Friends and Neighbors massive survivor distribution event on November 21,22,23, was a huge success. There was an army of volunteers who sorted, folded, arranged and displayed donated items. Others were personal shoppers who went around with each visitor and helped them shop for items they needed. Volunteers welcomed visitors and verified addresses, others were distributing gift cards so each visitor who’s home burned could go and purchase new items at the store of their choice. While there is no way to judge the actual amount of items donated, several people, who were able to gage, felt we had about 10 tons of donated new and used clothes, household items, pet supplies and food. There were at least four moving vans full that were delivered to the church prior to the event. Out of a mountain of donated items, these hard working volunteers worked for over a week, sometimes 10 hours a day, creating an organized “shopping” place where the gracious and grateful fire survivors could start to rebuild their lives.
Over and over again we heard how much each visitor appreciated the “hand up”. In some cases we cried with a survivor as they related their story. Most visitors left with a smile and hope. There were many hugs and tears of appreciation from the survivors. The church governing board was thrilled with the event as were various civic and governmental organizations. We know we helped hundreds of families and thousands of individuals. We gave away thousands of dollars worth of gift cards from Rim Lumber, Cedar Glen Trading Post, Stater Brothers, Target, Costco, and Kohls.
On Saturday, November 22, Weekender Clothing gave each lady who visited, a new outfit. Many churches, civic charitable organizations on the mountain participated to make this event so successful. Our list of supporters was well over 500. We knew this would be an intense, roll up your sleeves, exhausting event. It was, but those that put in the long hours felt that our goals were exceeded and we were truly able to help those who needed it most.
We had radio, TV, internet, and print media publicizing and covering this awesome occasion. Food for volunteers was donated by a woman in Westlake village for two days, another volunteer donated food another day. A survivor brought volunteers hot cinnamon rolls one morning as a thank you. A Girl Scout troop provided hot chocolate for all volunteers and those who attended. Donations of items and money came in from all over the country concern from all over the world from as far away as Sweden and Germany. Several girl scout troops helped on the weekend. Many volunteers came from all over Southern California. Celebrities provided public service announcements. Hundreds of phone calls were made and every effort was made to return them.
One of the greatest things that happened is that many of the survivors joined the volunteer effort and worked hard to help us provide the hand up. They started their healing process by helping other survivors. This was a massive team effort by many who came together not knowing just what it would take to provide this kind of service. Many volunteers believe they gained just as much as the survivors as they could see how much their efforts really helped those who need it.
Mountain Friends and Neighbors did provide a coat for the child and parents who did not have one, we did provide food and household supplies to those who lost all, we did provide gift cards for those who needed them the most, those who lost everything, we provide direction those who did not know where to turn, to people who are trained to help them deal with their loss, we did show all who visited our center they do have Mountain Friends and Neighbors who truly care about them.
Mountain Friends & Neighbors is an organization that has mobilized out of concern and compassion for the people in our mountain communities who have lost homes or businesses. We believe the need is urgent and immediate for us to help heal the devastation caused by the recent wildfires. We have no political, religious, social or philosophical affiliation. Our mission is to come together to help those in our community whose lives have been so severely impacted by the fires.
Mountain Friends & Neighbors wants to THANK YOU for your tremendous outpouring of generosity in the form of clothing, household and baby items. At this time we believe we have enough of these goods to serve our local fire survivors.
We are still asking for donations of gift cards from Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot and Kohl's in $25 increments. An event to facilitate the distribution of your generous donations will be held the weekend of November 21 - 23 from 9am-4pm daily at the Lake Arrowhead Community Presbyterian Church in Lake Arrowhead: 351 S. State Hwy 173 (next to the fire station, across from 7-11). There will be a donation station at the church staffed from 10am-2pm on these dates: Tues. 11/18, and Wed. 11/19.
Your donation is tax deductible.
If you are unable to deliver your donations to the donation center during the times listed above, mail donations of gift cards (in $25 increments) to:
Mountain Friends & Neighbors
P.O. Box 1825
Blue Jay, CA 92317
Volunteers are needed to collect and sort items on November 20th and to assist recipients at the event on Friday November 21st through Sunday November 23rd. We welcome your call for information on volunteering your time.
|For Information on Volunteering call Victoria
|For Information on Donations call Aline
or e-mail: MFN@firerecovery.com