BY DAVID KENNARD - email@example.com
What do you give to a person who has lost everything?
Work gloves, gift cards and restaurant certificates top the list of items needed by victims of Monday’s fire in Southeast Boise.
“Kitchen supplies and food are good ideas, but then you think, they have no kitchen,” said Patti Wagstaff who has been working with families in the Oregon Trail Heights neighborhood.
Wagstaff said men are asking for tools to replace the things lost when their garages went up in smoke.
“They’ve been asking for gloves and shovels to dig through the ash. Trash bags,” Wagstaff said. “Just basic needs.”
Volunteers are needed, but coordination is being handled through the Boise Fire Department’s Burnout Fund. Volunteers who would like to help are asked to call Charlie Ruffing at Fire Station 14 at 590-1437.
“We gave out $500 cash and gift cards to all the families yesterday,” Ruffing said. “And we hope to be able to do that again today.”
Ruffing said community support has been overwhelming.
Acorn Storage in Meridian has donated a storage unit to everyone who suffered damage from the fire.
“This will give us a place to store things until the families have a place to put them,” Ruffing said.
Ruffing said the best way to help is to give gift cards or certificates, especially from home improvement stores and restaurants.
“I know people want to bring food, but we’ve gotten some canned food and these people just have no way to use it,” Ruffing said.
He said disposable food such as granola bars and other sack lunch items that can be consumed at the work sites are good to give.
Most victims are staying in hotels or with friends, Ruffing said.
“The Grove Hotel has been great,” Ruffing said. “They offered lodging for everyone for a week.”
Help has poured in “from the business side to neighbors down the street,” Ruffing said. “I’m used to dealing with one house or at most with a four-plex. To deal with 20 houses is overwhelming”
The things needed most:
• Disposable gloves
• Booties to go over shoes at the worksite
• Toothbrushes and toothpaste
• Toiletry items
• Disposable coveralls
• Gift cards
• Money cards
• Cell phones
• Computer access
• Food items
• Pet care
• Medical supplies
MORE WAYS YOU CAN HELP
There are several efforts under way to help residents impacted by the Oregon Trail Fire. They are:
Red Cross of Greater Idaho Disaster Relief Fund: Money only. Clothing, blankets or other items cannot be accepted. Info: 800-853-2570.
Boise Burn Out Fund: Members of the Boise Firefighters Local 149 will be at Alive After Five from 5-8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 27, to raise money for the Burn Out Fund to help victims of the Southeast Boise fire.
Boise State University: Counseling is available by calling 426-1601. Financial donations made on campus will go to the Red Cross of Greater Idaho Disaster Relief Fund
Donation canisters: Student Union information desk, registrar's office on the first floor of the Administration Building and the parking and transportation offices until Sept. 3.
Clothing, blanket and linen collection: Student Union information desk, Administration Building first floor and the parking and transportation offices until Sept. 3. Items will be given to the Boise Burn Out Fund.
Textbook replacement: Students who may have lost their Boise State textbooks due to the fire should call 426-1418.
The Columbia Village Homeowners Association donation site: 10 a.m. Saturday, Columbia Village recreation center, for donations of clothing and household items.
The Grove Hotel, 248 S. Capitol Blvd., is offering complimentary one-week stays for those who lost their homes. Call 333-8000.
Bed, Bath and Beyond: Families who have lost their homes are asked to go to the store at 3615 S. Federal Way between 8 a.m. and noon on Thursday morning to register to have their valuables replaced. The registry will then be available to the public, who can buy the items for families at a 20 percent discount. Info: 344-8886.
Citadel Broadcasting (Magic 93.1): Accepting donations of clothing, money, gift cards and free services for the fire victims at its office at 15th and Bannock streets in Boise.
Riverside Elementary: Raising money and taking donations at 2100 E. Victory Road for teacher Brooke Linville, who lost her home in the fire. Linville, a resource room teacher whose first day at the school was Monday, is 33 weeks pregnant and lost everything, including baby shower gifts.
Sizzler restaurants: Drop off clothing or household items at any Sizzler and get a $5 coupon.
The UPS Store #4172: The UPS Store in the Columbia Village Shopping Center (338-9979) is offering to have all mail, packages, and any courier correspondence for displaced residents delivered directly to the 6568 S. Federal Way store at no charge. This includes regular mail as well as anything donated to them (either dropped off or shipped). For more information, call owner Chris Wyatt at 830-5634.
Idaho Department of Insurance: Personnel are available to answer coverage questions and assist homeowners in contacting insurance companies. The department also has tips for consumers regarding homeowners insurance, including a household inventory form, at www.doi.idaho.gov. For more information, call 334-4250 in Boise, or 800-721-3272 toll free statewide.
Gold’s Gym Treasure Valley: Accepting donations of clothing, cash and gift cards starting Thursday, Aug. 28. Donate at any of the four Treasure Valley locations; each donor will receive a two-week Gym pass: ParkCenter -- 801 E. ParkCenter Blvd.; Downtown Boise (Grove Hotel) -- 245 S. Capitol Blvd.; Cole & Fairview -- 7316 W. Fairview; Meridian -- 1455 Country Terrace Court. Call 389-GOLD.
Buck’s 4x4 Off-road Center: Lunch and dinner is being offered to anyone who makes a donation to benefit the Red Cross which in turn will benefit the families that were affected by the fire. This offer is from 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. through Friday, Aug. 29. Buck’s 4x4 Off-road Center is at 4500 W Chinden Blvd. in Garden City. For more information, call general manager Steve Dance at 343-2061.
Boise Moose Lodge Spaghetti Feed: Donations of money, food, clothing and school supplies will be accepted from noon to 9 p.m. Saturday at 8931 W. Ardene St.
Jensen Eye Associates: The Nampa business is donating contact lens cases and solution, and they are offering replacement contacts and glasses at their cost. Jensen Eye Associates is at 1615 12th Ave. Road, Suite A, in Nampa. For more information, call Jan Clark at 467-3271.
96.9 The Eagle: The radio station is collecting funds and items for the Boise Burnout Fund. K.O.P.E.G (Keep Our Planet Earth Green) is recycling old cell phones, mp3 players, ink cartridges, etc., and the money will be donated to the Burnout Fund. Items may be dropped off at the radio station 1419 W. Bannock in Downtown Boise from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays (excluding Labor Day); at any Boise Fire Station; or where ever 96.9 The Eagle may be broadcasting live in the Treasure Valley.
Quality Heating & Cooling: Working with the Boise Fire Department Burnout Fund in creating specific care packages for each of the families. Quality Heating & Cooling is collecting gift cards, clothing, toiletries, school supplies, baby items, etc. and putting them together for the families. They will be collecting through Sept. 2. For more information, call Ashley Van Cleave at 377-3555.
Market Real Estate: Real estate agents from Market Real Estate in Meridian will accept donations for the Boise Fire Department’s Burnout Fund from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 30, at 1857 W. Millennium Way. The event will feature balloon sculpting, a bounce house and cookies from the Idaho Mom’s Network. For more information, call 409-8892.
Utah-Idaho Southern Baptist Disaster Relief: Non-profit, volunteer organization can provide ash and debris removal for those whose homes and contents are considered a total loss from fire damage. For more information, call Kathe Rhodes at 208-756-4216.