Donations for wildfire victims overwhelming volunteer centers



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Posted on August 16, 2012 at 3:58 PM

Updated Friday, Aug 17 at 5:40 PM

CLE ELUM, Wash. -- A trio of donation centers set up in the wake of the Taylor Bridge Fire are overwhelmed with clothes, blankets and other goods, volunteers said Thursday.

The clothing banks at the Cle Elum Community Church, Cle Elum Fraternal Order of Eagles and a vacant storefront at 421 Main St. in Ellensburg were created Wednesday afternoon in response to community support.

However, since opening volunteers said very few people have take advantage of the large piles of material donated to the cause.

“We thought, what better way to give back than to try to help out some folks,” explained volunteer Jonette Gregory.

Pastor Worth Wilson heads the Cle Elum Community Church, which was recently expanded just in time for the impromptu donation center.

 “When they called me, I decided we were going to find a place to put the clothes, and we did,” Pastor Wilson said.

Wilson’s assistance comes from his faith and the recent memory of his own disaster.  In the winter of 2009, flood waters destroyed his home.

“You just rally, go the extra mile to help people in need,” Wilson recalled.

He was joined at the church by Amber Short, who was evacuated with her fiancée Monday night as the Taylor Bridge Fire crept closer to their home.

“It’s the not knowing that’s keeping me awake,” said Short. “Homes are burned.  Right now, it’s the back and forth that tires me.”

Late Thursday afternoon, however, Short got information to help her sleep more soundly.  Word came from fire officials she might get back to her home within 48 hours.  She said that knowledge gives her the ability to volunteer her time even more.

 “These victims don’t have anything,” she said. “If I do help them, it makes me feel better.”