For several hours today, members from Yakima and Selah Valley Stakes gathered at the Yakima Convention Center to help pack kits for our fire fighters. About 25 of our missionaries were there to lend a hand. This week city officials put out a call for donations and local fire stations have been collecting them by the bin-full. Forklifts and trucks brought these donations to the Convention Center, where several assembly lines were organized to pack kits with relief for our fire fighters.
These men and women are bone tired, and the end is not yet in sight. The article at the end of these photos describes this effort and what has been collected. We worked on clothing (socks, underwear and t-shirts), hygiene (deodorant, toothbrushes and paste, tampons and pads, etc.), and food kits (jerky, granola bars, cookies, gum, etc.). Bottles of water also went into the kits. These items have been donated by local businesses, corporations and 100s of individuals. Local stores have been stripped clean of most of these items! Apple growers in the area donated 100s of apple boxes. Trucking companies have volunteered to transport the relief to the areas where they are needed. As you can see, we had a great time helping our local community. Just a day or so ago, we got an email from our local Stake leaders asking for help. Within hours we had 3 shifts of 100s of people ready to help. Mormons know how to volunteer!
Meet Anne Barduhn, Stake Relief Society President of the Selah Stake. She is a master organizer and helper, at her best today. Here are a few of the lists of people who came to help. Kathy Coffey, the Assistant Mayor of Yakima thanked everyone for helping today. In one 3-hour shift, we completed the work that was planned for 3 shifts! We filled pallets of boxes with goodness that will be trucked to our fire fighters all over the state. Thanks to everyone who came today to help!There are more photos posted on our Washington Yakima Mission Facebook Page.
Donations for Okanogan Complex Firefighters Coming From Far and Wide
Since the City of Yakima launched a donation campaign on Monday to gather items to assist crews battling the Okanogan Complex wildfires, the generosity of the Yakima community has been on full display. Donations from local residents and businesses have been pouring in to the two Yakima fire stations where they are being accepted. Members of Yakima-area Mormon churches have volunteered to sort the donated items and get them ready to be shipped. Haney Truck Line, a Yakima-based hauler, has offered to haul the donations, which may fill multiple semi trailers, to the Firefighter Relief Center in Tonasket for free.
The campaign has also caught the attention of people from outside of Yakima who have learned about the supply drive through social media and have joined the effort.
“I’ve talked to people from as far away as Chicago and North Dakota who are sending donations our way,” said Communications & Public Affairs Director Randy Beehler. “Federal detention workers from Sea-Tac, a business owner from Sunnyside, a group from Clark County (in southwest Washington state), a group from Burlington (in northwest Washington state) are all pitching in. It’s truly an extraordinary response and speaks volumes about the willingness of people to go above and beyond in times of crisis,” said Beehler.
Donations of specific, non-perishable items for Okanogan Complex firefighters will be accepted at Yakima Fire Department Station 91 at 401 N. Front Street and Station 93 at 40th Avenue and Englewood Avenue through noon on Friday, August 28th. Donations of money can also be accepted at the two fire stations (checks should be made out to the Yakima Firefighters Association) and will be used to purchase additional supplies.
Even though the Yakima supply drive will end at noon on Friday, donations will continue to be accepted at the Firefighter Relief Center in Tonasket. Donations can be mailed to the Tonasket Visitor and Business Information Center, Firefighter Relief Center, 215 South Whitcomb Avenue, Tonasket, Washington, 98855.
The specific items requested by the Firefighter Relief Center in Tonasket are:
Jerky, Granola bars, Bottled water, Gum, Visine, ChapStick, Bandanas, Ibuprofen/Tylenol, Tampons/pads, Baby wipes, White socks, White T-shirts, White underwear (100% cotton), Gatorade packet drink mix (with electrolytes), and Gallon-size Ziploc bags.
The items collected in Yakima will be delivered to the Firefighter Relief Center in Tonasket this weekend.
As of today, the Okanogan Complex fires are approximately 17% contained, up from 15% containment on Tuesday. Almost 1,350 firefighters and other personnel are currently assigned to the Okanogan Complex. According to emergency management officials, the fires could continue burning for several more months.
Any questions about the Yakima supply drive can be directed to Communications & Public Affairs Director Randy Beehler by phone at 901-1142 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.