The California community of Paradise was literally devastated by the fast-moving Camp wildfire on November 8th and for many residents of Susanville, CA, the impact hit close to home. Although two hours away from Paradise, in this largely rural part of the state there are strong ties between the region’s small communities, and many people in Susanville know friends or family who have lost everything in the fire. Take Anna Stewart for instance, owner with her husband Rick of Susanville Supermarket. Anna lived in Paradise until she was 10 years old, and has fond memories of riding horses and playing in the woods there.
So when the local radio station asked to team up on a fundraiser for fire victims, Stewart was on board. On Friday, November 16th, members of the local fire department set up a ladder truck in the store’s parking lot, and firefighters collected money in their large boots that they wear. Stewart bought some smaller boots to put by the registers. In five hours, the parking lot “boot drive” brought in more than $56,000 and the register donations totaled more than $3,000, for a grand total of over $60,000 given to the Paradise Rotary Foundation, which works directly with victims.
“The outpouring was incredible,” Stewart said. As she wrote in her weekly store update called “The Green Grocerette,” it’s been amazing to see how many people in her community have been lending a hand, from helping to feed people to hauling trash and other clean-up work. “We have locals driving down every weekend,” she said.
Next up is another fundraiser with the local brewery, she said, with details still being decided.
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