South Bay volunteers heed call for help, pitch in to assist Kincade Fire victims

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Although cities apart and miles from the devastation, residents in San Jose are pitching in to help victims of the Kincade Fire.

Resident Jeremy Taylor was one of many who are following the devastation from a distance. After seeing the images of the Kincade Fire, the Willow Glen Neighborhood Association member knew he had to do something.

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Taylor took to Facebook. On the 27th, he wrote, "Calling all neighbors: we are organizing supplies to take to Sonoma County."

"I just saw the number of 180,000 evacuating," he explained. "To me, that's a really big number."

A big number and a big task ahead as Taylor's neighbors started to show with supplies.

"It's pretty clear that people are really sympathetic to this," he said. "It doesn't seem like there's anything that is driving them, other than we've seen just the devastation from these last few fires."

Local business owner Gabriel Lopez also responded to the call for help, offering his moving truck for transport.

He owns Everything Goes Movers.

Lopez volunteered to drive the items to the North Bay, as he did during the Paradise Fire.

"You have to put the mask on. You could feel it in your eyes and everything like that," Lopez described. "I remember that, how it was. So, that's kind of why I really want to give back."

MAP: Kincade Fire burn zone, areas under evacuation

Water, food, and other items are currently being kept at Little Orchard Storage in San Jose.

The business offered Lopez a space to collect and store donations until his drive up, on Thursday.

He'll take donated items to Redwood Empire Food Bank of Santa Rosa. The organization is both impacted and activated because of the fire.

"What has been unique about this particular natural disaster is our food bank has been located in a mandatory evacuation zone," Redwood Empire Food Bank CEO, David Goodman told ABC7 News.

"Fortunately, we were able to gain access to the food bank. So effective this morning, we had a skeleton crew in the food bank," he said. "They were able to receive donations of food that are coming from all parts of the nation, throughout California, and the Bay Area."

The food bank also activated its Station 3990 program, which addresses emergency distribution in any type of disaster.

The NorCal Emergency Response Team (NCERT) also found Taylor's Facebook post.

Understanding that disaster continues long after a fire has been extinguished, their efforts simply expanding.

"Some of us just finished Paradise," Karen Baughan with NCERT told ABC7 News. "Some of those volunteers are now victims because of the Sonoma County fire. So, we're trying to help."

As the team has done in previous fires, they're going to organize donation collection, and send items up to the impacted areas.

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Baughan said the team has nine core members, with six trucks ready to go.

Items they're collecting with go toward helping people, families, animals and first responders.

Both Baughan and Taylor mentioned local grocer Zanotto's Markets donated 20 cases of bottled water.

Baughan continued, "We're talking cats, dogs, birds, snakes, fish, feed buckets, water, salts- the need is so big."

While she admits she isn't entirely familiar with what food any specific animal relies on, she said the group will happily take everything up to the North Bay.

NCERT is hosting a donation drop in Morgan Hill on Saturday, November 2nd. Visitors should head to El Toro Elementary from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The organization is asking that people please look at the list to make sure they are only donating items truly in need.

No used clothing or used bedding.

"We're blessed to have a good team right now, who's willing to say, 'Okay, we could shift,'" Baughan said. "As quickly as the weather is shifting and the fires are shifting, we're ready to shift with them as well."

The list of needed items is growing. Go here for the most updated list, according to NCERT.

Get the latest developments on the Kincade Fire here.
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