SONORA, Calif. (KTXL) — Members of the community came together to help Sonora Elementary School students who lost their homes in the Washington Fire.
By Friday, food, clothes, toys, gift cards and other necessities had been dropped off at the school for families.
“We didn’t know how many families were going to be in need, but we definitely wanted to get on it as fast as we can,” said Sonora Elementary School Principal Chris Boyles.
Boyles allowed the campus to be used as a donation drop-off site to support the families of two students who lost everything.
“We were looking for either new clothes or supplies, or also gift cards, and we ended up taking in about $3,500 worth of gift cards and cash that we split up and gave to the families,” Boyles told FOX40.
Some of those donations have already been distributed to one of the families, and the other is expected to pick up their share Monday evening.
Cal Fire said 17 structures have been destroyed in the fire, including multiple homes.
By Monday, it had burned 100 acres and was 50% contained, Cal Fire Incident Commander John Zuniga said.
Boyles said they could see the fire burning just a mile and a half from campus.
“You look up, it’s this massive plume of smoke and black smoke,” he said. “And then almost immediately, emergency responders, helicopters, planes were attacking because of the place that was so close to downtown that they had to get a handle on quickly, and they did.”
School was canceled Friday because many families were still evacuated.
Boyles sent out a message to parents asking for the community’s support, and they used the day to gather supplies.
“We have this very extremely unfortunate event that occurred and we have families that are really just in a tragic state, and let’s bring them up. Let’s lift them up,” Boyles said.
While the school is no longer collecting donations on campus, they are committed to finding other ways to support all the families affected.
“I’m not surprised. The town of Sonora and Tuolumne County did an amazing job to help,” Boyles said.