Wildfire victims shop for free at Serres Nursery
Tragedy struck at the end of the summer when fires ravaged small communities near Portland, Salem, the coast and down in southern Oregon. Some families had days to prepare and were able to pack their beloved belongings, while others had minutes and left with what they could carry on their backs.
Evacuees stayed with friends and family out of the area while others hunkered down in parking lots, parks, fairgrounds and any place that was safer than home. In the middle of the disaster, people stepped up and worked side-by-side with organizations to donate and disperse food, bathroom products, sleeping bags and pet food. A network of people with horse and cargo trailers also helped get pets and livestock to safer pastures and pens.
People's generosity didn't stop there. Many people also wanted to donate furniture, clothing and other household items to replace what fire victims had lost. Oregon City resident Rae Gordon, who herself was on a Level 2 evacuation with a mother already evacuated from Lyons, started getting calls from people wanting to give more than the basics.
"I tried to connect people who lost homes with these items." she said. "But nobody had any place to put anything yet."
But Gordon wanted to find a way to capture people's desire to donate with something at a later date that would be free to fire victims. With the help of many volunteers and coordinators, she was able to organize a sale that would be free to fire victims and open to the public, with proceeds going to help with continued care.
The Oregon Wildfire Sale is truly a community effort. It is being put on with the help of the Oregon City Lions Club, volunteer and donation coordination by Shelley Garrett and support from the Cascade Blues Association and many volunteers from all over the region, including Paula Wells and Evelyn Silverman helping to coordinate. Driver volunteers have been picking up donations every day and storage units were donated by Money Saver Mini Storage. The location is being provided by Patti Serres at Serres Nursery. Serres is known in the Oregon City area for giving back to her community and volunteering her time and resources to good causes. It was a perfect location in the middle of a pandemic. The large open space will allow people to spread out and be safe. Serres also heads up the Bloomin' Boutique, a nonprofit organization that helps provide new clothes and other items to underprivileged and foster children.
Buyers will find a wide variety of items for the house, yard and garden that have been collected from people and businesses in Portland and surrounding areas. Teachers from River Mill Elementary in Estacada had started collecting clothes and household items during the disaster and gave their mass collection to this sale. Shoppers will also find furniture, antiques including an art deco armoire, clothes for all ages, toys, camping supplies, household decor, kitchenware, small appliances and even live plants.
The sale is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. Items are free all hours of the sale to fire victims with ID or proof of recent address. An additional special shopping hour from 10 to 11 a.m. will be made available just for fire victims. Masks are required and capacity will be monitored. It is open to the public with proceeds going to the Red Cross Western Wildfires Fund.
For more information, visit the sale event page.
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