SAN ANDREAS (CBS13) — Those hit hard by a devastating wildfire got a Christmas surprise on Monday.
Hundreds of cars lined up in the rain on Monday at the food bank in San Andreas, where volunteers gave out 1,000 free meals. It’s fewer than last year, because of the Butte Fire.
“These volunteers are doing an awesome job today,” said Chris Trotter, who was getting help. “To come out in the rain and weather is just so awesome.”
But the food bank let Butte Fire victims know they could come as often as they like.
“A lot of families don’t have a way to cook the food that we’re offering,” said program coordinator Joe Tobin.
Most only have small trailers with not much space to store food. Many of the 80 volunteers like Dereen Deschryver were also close to losing it all in the fire.
“I’m from Mokelumne Hill and it came right up the canyon right to my driveway. The local fire department held it off,” Deschryver said.
“Seeing this many families in one day,” Tobin said, “it definitely kind of hits you in the heart and let’s you know there is still a need in this community.”
After picking up food, families with children could go to the middle school and go Christmas shopping without their children knowing about it.
Toys for Tots collected more than 4,000 toys this year, double what it received in 2014, making it possible for each child to receive four or five toys. While parents shopped, Santa and Mrs. Claus kept the children occupied by helping to make cookies and giving out small gifts.
“I can’t tell you what that means to these families that don’t have that extra money to shop, and I’ll tell you, the toys are awesome,” said Jeannie Hayward.