Organizations are on the Fence on What People Should Donate During Catastrophes Like the Carr Fire

STOCKTON -- As the fire fights continue, organizations helping with disaster relief are split on the donations they desire to receive from the community.

For the Lions Club, the motto of ‘we serve’ is very simple.

“When we get a call or something is happening in our community, we immediately go and help. There’s no question about it. Lions will just stop and we go and help,” said Connie O’Dea, Lions Club International (LCI).

Several local Lions Club members from around the area gathered outside Walmart on Hammer Lane Saturday, collecting items like shovels, coolers and nonperishable food that their club in Redding says are necessary as they look to life after the Carr Fire.

“It is so heartwarming to see the community out here step up and help their fellow community members. We’re in Stockton, the fire is 200 miles north and they are donating, constantly. To me, that is so awesome,” said Tom Penhallegon, LCI.

While the Lions Club has a place organized and eager to take donations, several organizations like the Salvation Army are strictly asking for monetary donations to help with immediate needs and projects that will run long after the final flame is put out.

“The biggest challenge that we see when we get all these donations is where do we put them while we are waiting to give them to the families. It doesn’t mean in the future that we aren’t going to be able to use and to receive those, but just at this moment as we are going through and trying to be sensitive to the families, we want to be able to spend our time working with them, not trying to figure out where we are going to warehouse all these great donations,” said Maj. Keith Bottjen, Salvation Army, Del Oro Division.

The Lions Club is accepting money as well, filling a jar several times throughout the afternoon, those donations will go on top of a $10,000 grant from the Lions Club International and $1000 the group raised in Sonora, Friday.

Despite the differences in what each organization is looking for when helping victims of the Carr fire, one thing is for sure, every little bit helps.

“Basically, it's getting items that they will need when they go back to what they don't have,” said Penhallegon.

The Lions Club will be back in front of Walmart on Hammer Lane Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The items will be delivered to Redding on Monday.

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