With fires raging all around the Bay for the last week, people in the South Bay really wanted to help. Some grassroots efforts popped up on social media trying to coordinate getting donations to the evacuees. It was apparent that many were evacuating to friends, family and hotels in the South Bay.
Monday the decision was made to turn the Fellowship Hall into a donation center for fire victims. The idea was that people could drop off their donations at the church and we would be open for evacuees to come choose what they needed from the supplies. The staff met on Monday night to organize a layout for the room that took Covid precautions into mind. Tuesday morning there were already donations to stock a store. People were reaching out online, by phone and email asking how they could help. Donations arrived in droves by car, by van, by mail. By Thursday we were instructing people that we could not take ANY more items, only gift cards. We also asked for volunteers and they have been coming too. From the neighborhood, from local churches and service groups, and even evacuees themselves.
Even though it was exhausting, and a bit overwhelming, to deal with the sheer number of donations, it has been wonderful to give the evacuees a little relief. Most are hesitant when they arrive. Used to being independent, accepting help can be an emotional experience. We set the Hall up like a shop, so evacuees can choose what they need or want. It's been especially gratifying to see the kids find a toy, book, or art kit to help them pass the time in their temporary housing.
Thank you Prince of Peace for not only opening your hearts, but also your buildings, your time, your wallets to your neighbors in their time of need! You are an example of living