VACAVILLE (CBS13) – “Vacaville Strong” is becoming a trending phrase for many as people try to figure out how to help others rebuild their lives. One local feed store, Western Ranch and Pet Supply, is lending their help to plenty of others.
Manager Noelle DeMartini said people have been bringing down all sorts of items from food and baby supplies to clothing and school supplies. The boxes upon boxes are the tip of the donation iceberg for the family-owned and operated shop.
They have also set up a fire donation fund where Western Ranch is matching every donation and purchase from the store; dollar for dollar, product for product.
For many, the money has a deeper meaning.
“It’s really sad, but I’m glad we were able to help them. There was this one little boy, he actually lived by my house. We’re lucky, we didn’t lose anything, but he looked at me and he said, ‘Did you lose your house too?’” DeMartini said. “That’s when I just…I’m just so glad we can help these people with the stuff that they need.”
So far, they’ve helped 20 to 30 families whose lives have been shattered by the shock of escaping the flames.
“These are people who have shopped at our store. These are some people I’ve known for years. Some I’ve known my whole life. And it just so personal,” DeMartini said.
It’s not just personal for them but also for 17-year-old Ryan Clagg. He’s using his family’s ranch to house displaced animals they rescued from the fire until their owners can get them.
“Just for the animals. I hate seeing them up in the hills; homes being destroyed,” Clagg said. “Our community kind of came together.”
Some are running point for a helping cause while others just lending a helping hand. Either way, there’s something to be said about this community truly rising from the ashes.
“Vacaville has always been a beautiful community. And they’ve just shown and proven that over this last week,” Sally Hasz, volunteer at Western Ranch’s donation drive, said.
“What’s really proved it, what’s really shown it is how everyone is coming together,” DeMartini said.
Western Ranch said they are still taking donations but they are no longer taking clothes at this time.
The LNU Lightning Complex Fire has burned through nearly 353,000 acres and is 27% contained. Nearly 1,000 structures have been destroyed.