‘It was so touching:’ Community members coming together to help fire evacuees

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FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) — The Creek Fire has brought destruction to many mountain neighborhoods, but it’s been met with resilience.

Community members have donated supplies for evacuees, even as some cope with loss themselves.

“The first day I saw a friend, and he and his wife and their daughter, they lost their house, and they were staying in a trailer all the way across the other side of the Central Valley. They drove over that morning to make a donation. Not the first, many, many people have come and made donations that have lost a lot of property,” said Auberry resident Justice Jones at the donation site set up at Ace Hardware in Prather.

Organizers at that donation site are asking for household supplies, like paper towels, pet food, and non-perishable food items. They’re also selling Creek Fire clothing with all proceeds going towards the Sierra Foundation.

Similar donation centers are set up across the Valley, offering services for people who’ve lost homes filled with memories.

Christine Begin Vlahavas Zimmet lived in her home in the Pineridge community near Cressman’s for 38 years.

Only a few days after she evacuated, she got word that her home was gone. A GoFundMe page for her has already raised more than $7,000, and she says she’s been overwhelmed by all the love and support.

“It was so touching that every time someone reached out to me in that way, I would just start crying,” said Zimmet. “It was the tenderness and the caring of the community that just touches your heart. It just melts you.”

With a long road still ahead, she says the way the community has come together is giving her hope for the future.

“To rebuild everything is daunting,” she said, “but I’m up for it, and I know the community is going to be there. We’re all going to be there to help each other.”

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