SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - Support is pouring in for fire victims, firefighters and first responders on the front lines of the historic wildfires in Northern California.
For many people, they want to do something to help during this unsettled time. From feeding and housing evacuees to expressing heartfelt thanks to the firefighters, community members are pulling through for one another.
At the Santa Cruz Moose Lodge, not far from the CZU Lightning Complex Fire, a line of evacuees waiting for a hot meal is growing longer.
On the menu, Taco Tuesday compliments of Maya Mexican Restaurant in Scotts Valley. The lodge is cooking up two meals a day and housing dozens of people.
“Everyone is just pitching in,” said Jeff Shaver of the Santa Cruz Moose Lodge. “What can I do to help? Do you need help with that?”
Community members are raising money. Donations of toiletries and food are given to volunteer firefighters.
“God bless those guys,” said Santa Cruz Mustang Club President Cami Corvin. “They work really hard and they aren’t getting paid.”
Earlier in the day, at the Best Western Seacliff Inn in Aptos, firefighters were greeted with cheers during shift change.
“I just wanted to send them off in their day knowing that we really care about what they are doing,” said Lisa Haux of Soquel.
Haux, a health care provider, came up with the idea back in April. Law enforcement and firefighters honored her and others at her hospital when the pandemic first broke out.
“I thought the least I could do would be to show them the same support they showed healthcare workers,” said Haux.
Haux posted about it on social media and was blown away by the turnout. More than 100 people were there.
“For a few days, everyone was really scared and the only people that we saw were brave enough were the firefighters,” said Nikhil Soni of Aptos.
Signs are left behind at the hotel for the firefighters to return to.
In San Jose, 12-year-old Taite Robbins and neighbor 10-year-old Nila Santhos cooked up an old recipe of Hello Dolly treats bringing them and thank you cards to the firehouse. Firefighters expressed their thanks. The girls called them their heroes.
“They are exhausted and tired and they deserve something really thoughtful,” said Santhosh.
“I want to say thank you so much because you are amazing,” said Robbins.
Cal Fire tweeted photos of the chief, often seen providing updates in the morning and evening briefings, holding thank you cards the unit has received. The tweet said the cards make the long hours worth it.