DENVER – Seventy children whose families lost everything in the California wildfires last month will still have lots of presents to open Christmas morning thanks to some very generous Coloradans.
Six weeks ago, the Camp Fire in Paradise, California destroyed nearly 14,000 homes. For those families, Christmas is probably one of the last things on their minds.
“Those families haven’t really thought about Christmas because they’re focused on things like shelter and food. Their long-term plan is what are we going to eat tomorrow,” Woody Faircloth told FOX31.
Faircloth and his six-year-old daughter have been collecting donations for the fire’s survivors since Thanksgiving.
“The whole town burned down so not only everybody lost their homes but their cars, their jobs. It’s just unbelievable,” he said.
The Faircloths initially raised $2500 to purchase a used RV that they wanted to donate to a family that lost its home. The response was so overwhelming they had to create a 501(c)3 non-profit to handle the donations. It has since raised more than $50,000 and they have collected and distributed nearly 40 RVs for families to move into.
Parents at his daughter’s elementary school decided to pitch in and set up a toy drive to help the children affected by the fire.
“It was Christmas and we just thought when you’ve lost everything, you’re trying to rebuild your life and that last thing that’s on your mind is trying to give your kids Christmas and so we thought, is there a little bit that we could do to make it a little bit easier?” Shellie Chambers said.
They collected enough gifts to give 70 children three presents each.
“There are toys. Some of them are older teenagers so there are gift cards, nail polish. Just some of the things we just started thinking about. They’re starting from scratch. They don’t have anything,” Chambers said.
The group ran into a logistical problem getting the gifts to California.
“I had a moment of panic I was like how are we going to get these to California? This is going to cost us a fortune to get it out there and that’s not really where we want to spend the money that people are giving us,” Faircloth said.
A man from Estes Park heard about what the group was doing and decided to donate his RV. Faircoat will fill it with the gifts and drive it to California.
He will hand deliver the presents to the children on Christmas Eve. Then he will deliver the RV to a family in need.
“His RV is going to a family of three who lost their landscaping business and their home and their car,” Faircloth said. “And we’re going to put them in a home for Christmas.”