WILDFIRE 2023 RELIEF UPDATES
STORIES OF IMPACT
Read more about the individuals in our community who have been impacted by the Gray and Oregon Road Fires.
AUGUST 25, 2023 UPDATE
Charles had spent the last two nights sleeping in his pickup, along with his large dog, as his home outside Elk was in a Level 3 (GO NOW) evacuation zone. He was tired and enduring the stress so many people faced as a result of the Gray and Oregon Road fires. Despite all that, Charles, a retired Navy veteran, arrived early and spent four-plus hours in the rain volunteering at our Mobile Market free food distribution on Fairchild Air Force Base Tuesday.
That Inland Northwest spirit has been embodied by Charles and so many others who have gone the extra mile to help their neighbors in need. More than a dozen members of the Air Force also withstood the rain to help distribute food to their fellow airmen—enduring hardship is nothing for them, but they did so as volunteers. No one groused about the relative chill and rain, but rather everyone welcomed the respite from the wind and heat that super-fueled the devastating fires.
So many people, organizations and companies have stepped forward with generosity and kindness that it’s difficult to pick which to highlight. You will find a few examples below along with updates on our coordination with our hunger-relief partners in the affected areas:
Medical Lake Area Update
- The good people of Medical Lake took the brunt of the Gray fire, with dozens of homes burnt to the ground.
- The fire got close to the Medical Lake Food Bank, but the building was spared. Sadly, five of the food bank’s volunteers lost their homes.
- Electricity to the food bank building went down and thus its inventory was a total loss. We are working with them to replenish food supplies needed to resume service, and we are partnering with them on a Mobile Market in Medical Lake to serve people impacted by the fires.
- Several volunteers with the Feed Medical Lake program lost homes but the church they operate out of was spared. The program is currently closed due to power outages and a lack of volunteers.
Elk Area Update
- The North County Food Bank building was not directly affected by the fire. The folks at North County are open three extra days this week, and we are providing additional food beyond what normally is sent there.
- The Greenhouse Food Bank of Deer Park: The Oregon Road fire got close to the building, but fortunately, it was not directly affected. We sent a shipment of food to Greenhouse this week.
- The Mead Food Bank is open and accepting orders.
Community Support Update
Our longtime partners at the Wolff Family Foundation immediately contacted us and committed $25,000 for matching donations specifically to help those impacted by the fires, and shortly after that an anonymous donor pledged another $10,000 matching gift. That has prompted many other generous donations. Many, many other people and organizations have donated to other organizations for fire relief.
Donate today to help feed communities affected by fires.
Numerous generous supporters stepped forward right away to help Second Harvest provide food access for families affected by the recent fires, including the Wolff Family Foundation who matched the first $25,000 donated and another $10,000 anonymous matching gift. Other lead gifts toward Second Harvest’s crisis response efforts came from organizations and businesses below.
Food Sourcing Update
- Also, the Washington State Department of Agriculture is sending us 58 pallets of food to be distributed to those whose lives have been upended by the fires. Most of that food will be shelf-stable goods, which for months have been particularly difficult to obtain, and the prices of what is available have skyrocketed.
Disaster and emergency services personnel have told us that while the immediate response is incredible and necessary, our friends and neighbors who have lost their homes will be displaced and in need for months, and possibly over a year. It may cause that Inland Northwest spirit to bend, but it won’t break.
AUGUST 22, 2023 UPDATE
Our thoughts are with the people of Medical Lake and Elk and all those affected by the Gray and Oregon Road fires that broke out Aug. 18. Hundreds of structures and homes have been lost, and firefighting crews are still responding to contain the swift moving and active blazes. When a disaster strikes, people suddenly become at risk of hunger and other hardships. You have trusted Second Harvest in the past with your support in times of crisis, and I hope you will join us today to ensure food gets to people who need it.
Our friends at the Wolff Family Foundation have stepped forward to match every dollar donated up to $25,000 to help with hunger-relief in the communities affected by the Gray and Oregon Road fires. Another local couple, who wish to remain anonymous, will match another $10,000. You can make your donation today and it will go even farther to support our wildfire response and help our partners on the frontlines with food distribution.
Second Harvest continues to assess the status of our food pantry and meal program network in the affected communities. We are coordinating a Mobile Market free food distribution this week at Faith Lutheran Church in Deer Park to help anyone who needs food but especially those affected by the fires. We are working with partners to add other Mobile Market distributions as well. Generous food donors will help Second Harvest with further resources that will serve people beyond the threat of the fires themselves.
If you are in need of food, please go to our “Food Near Me” map at https://2-harvest.org/food-near-me-wa/ and type in your address or zip code, or scroll down to our Mobile Market calendar to look for a distribution in your area. Our calendar will be updated as new events are added.
Thank you, as always, for helping us feed people today and build hope for tomorrow.
Jason L. Clark
Chief Executive Officer