Creek Fire: Thousands of fire evacuees getting the basics from flood of donations

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Creek Fire evacuees are heading down to the Valley floor by the thousands. With each mandatory evacuation, more anxious foothill residents are arriving in Fresno seeking shelter and the basics.

Many left with only important documents and the necessities. In addition to the American Red Cross, local churches are joining together to provide gift cards, clothing and food to help during this difficult time.

The lines of tired and stressed out evacuees are long.

The Beck family left their Meadow Lakes home with not much more than their kids and some clothes.

"I've just been trying to keep it together. We have three kids. I've been trying to just hold it together so they don't panic, but it's been hard and my best friend lost her house in Pine Ridge," said Janie Beck.

"You know the mountains up there, everything always burns around us, never gets close," said Clint Stephenson of Auberry. "And it's burned national landmarks and things that have been up there for 150 years. It's sad, very emotional," he continued.

The American Red Cross is assisting with housing needs and other basics, but they aren't accepting donations or passing out any perishables because they don't have a place to store or sanitize them.

"Right now we're offering them a safe place to stay, and food. We do have our nurses available if they left without their medication, they left so quickly," said Cindy Huge of the American Red Cross.

Across the street at Clovis Hills Community Church, evacuees have been essentially shopping for anything they need thanks to generous donations from the community.

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"So the traffic is getting bigger every day. Obviously you can see the line behind me those are all evacuees. The outpouring of the community has been astounding," said Dr. Shawn Beaty, senior pastor at Clovis Hills.

Families in need of everything from toiletries to baby necessities are getting it at the church. Even law enforcement agencies are dropping off items to help.

Stephenson left his home three days ago and fortunately found all of his immediate needs were met in one place.

"We came yesterday to get toothbrushes and a couple of deodorants. We came back today to get kennels for our animals," he said.

Outside the Red Cross intake center at Clovis North, several churches have partnered together and pulled their resources. They passed out 10 thousand dollars in gift cards to evacuees on Tuesday.

Many of the evacuees have been told if their homes are still standing, it could be a month or longer before they are able to return to them, depending on the progress of the fire and the containment.

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