When residents were evacuated ahead of the High Park Fire in June, few thought they should take winter clothing. But four months later, those who lost everything are still restocking their lives at the donation distribution center in the old Mervyn’s store at the Foothills Mall.
The center, which is run by volunteers with the Adventist Community Service Disaster Response, will be open until Nov. 21 – the Wednesday before Thanksgiving – and is still accepting donations.
Site Director June Spaulding said they are in need of warm coats for both men and women; outdoor clothing such as hats and gloves; coveralls and other work clothing; and warm winter wear for men and boys in addition to non-perishable food, especially baking ingredients, and kitchen items including baking pans; paper products and cleaning supplies; small appliances; blankets and linens for full, queen and king beds; large size shampoo and toiletries; disposable diapers in all sizes; and pet food.
All donations should be new or gently used, without rips or stains, or in good working order. All the items in the center are available to fire survivors at no charge with proof of address.
“We’re a place where people come and ‘shop’ for what they need and feel comfortable,” Spaulding explained. “These are people who will be in need for some time, and we want to be able to help them heal.”
One more thing on Spaulding’s donation wish list: Christmas decorations. The artificial tree is not the first thing you think to grab in an evacuation, but having some ornaments to hang in temporary housing can make the holidays feel a little bit festive, at least.
Once the center closes in November, any leftover items will be donated to local organizations that will distribute, not sell, them.
The center is open 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and noon-6 p.m. Sundays, for both shopping and dropping off donations.
Between June 21 and Sept. 22, the ACS center has served 3,288 people from both the High Park and Woodland Heights fires, Spaulding said. Nearly 30,000 pieces of clothing and more than 60,000 food items have been given out over that time.
For more information, email Spaulding at firstname.lastname@example.org.