Santa Rosa residents team up to help victims of the Kincade Fire, PG&E power shutoff

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KGO) -- As progress grows in containing the Kincade Fire, the North Bay is now turning its attention to people affected by the fire and by PG&E's Public Safety Power Shutoff.

At high noon in Santa Rosa, a long line snaked through a training facility for the city's fire department. Standing in line is often frustrating and inconvenient, but no one was complaining.

"Even if it's just one bag groceries, it means a tremendous amount to them," said Serena Lienau of the City of Santa Rosa.

The City and Catholic Charities teamed up to sponsor an event, where food donated by groups including the Salvation Army, Red Cross and local residents was handed out.

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The recipients: Between 2,000 to 3,000 locals for whom one crisis is over and another has begun.

"We were just getting a lot of individuals wondering how they were going to replace the food in their refrigerators and for people who lost wages for the time power was out," said Jennielynn Holmes of Catholic Charities.

The same organizations threw together a food give-away on short notice on Thursday that served a thousand people. But, social media and word of mouth more than doubled that turnout on Friday...and not a moment too soon for people living paycheck to paycheck.

"There have been some things that have gone bad in the fridge," according to Ximena Barrientos of Santa Rosa.

"I think it's great. It's helpful," said Candy Griffin.

Friday was the last day for this program. Future donations can be made to the Redwood-Empire Food Bank. But food donations aren't the only way to help.

"I love my friends up here and thought I would come and donate," said Kate Hale, who lost her home in the 2017 North Bay Fires. She was among several people who donated blood at Vitalant's Blood Center in Santa Rosa on Friday.

It was evacuated due to fire danger last Friday, and Friday is the first day they are back in business.

"We were also unable to do our blood drives around the community," said site supervisor Katherine Zagami.

That leaves them short of about 300 units of blood products including platelets, plasma and red blood cells.

They are calling on people to donate to make up what they lost during the evacuation. But, they ask that donors go online to make an appointment rather than just drop-in, to make the process smoother.
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