Variety of organizations continue to help SQF Complex evacuees

TULARE COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Thousands of people have been forced to leave their homes since the SQF Complex started last month.

Last week, the Salvation Army in Tulare and Visalia began collecting and distributing donations for those evacuees.

In Visalia, evacuees can come pick up what they want after making an appointment with the organization.

"We ask them what is it that they need at the moment," Salvation Army Lt. Yonathan Escobar said. "So from water to non-perishable food, or just a gift card to go buy some clothes, because most of them, they just ran out of the house and they weren't able to grab anything from home."

Across town, you'll find another storage room for fire evacuees inside Visalia's Rise Church.

Missions Pastor Matthew Young says the best way to help their efforts is to donate money through their website.

They'll then shop for items and distribute them to those in need.

"So we've had not only so many different evacuees come through-people that we've been able to just help, talk to, and love on that are going through a really hard time," Young said. "But we've also been building relationships with other churches and different people in the county that really just want to help these families that have been evacuated."

Tulare County Animal Services Manager Cassie Heffington says more than 250 animals have been evacuated from areas near the SQF Complex.

Livestock are boarded at the Porterville Fairgrounds and Woodlake Rodeo Grounds, while smaller pets are at the animal services shelter south of Visalia.

Thanks to generous donations from the local agriculture community, Heffington says they've hardly had to buy any food or supplies on their own.

"This process has just really opened my eyes to the community of Tulare County and how well people are able to work together and come together in these times of crisis," she said.

It may be some time before fire evacuees are allowed to go back home.

That's why animal services has been helping families who had to leave animals behind-by providing food and water to those animals who are still on-site, and searching for any that may now be missing.

To give to Tulare County Animal Services, call 559-636-4050.
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