Fired Up Sisters, a support group for victims of the 2007 Witch fire, is seeking donations of new materials or items that can be used in the building and equipping of fire victims’ homes.
“We have a warehouse dedicated to fire families that we try to keep stocked,” said Janice Strizver, a Ramona resident and Fired Up Sisters member.
The support group has tax credit slips for donors. Donating to the group’s warehouse is a great way for a retailer to unload materials, returned merchandise, or items they cannot sell, and receive a tax write-off, Strizver said.
Only new items are accepted, she stressed, but the variety of items is vast, as many of the families are still rebuilding their homes or have not yet started the process.
According to Strizver, approximately 60 percent of the Witch fire victims are still not in their homes. The warehouse offers those families the opportunity to come and find materials and items to be used in the building and furnishing of their homes.
Faucets, sinks, doors, windows, tile, carpet remnants, ceiling fans, window treatments, linens, furniture—the list goes on.
If a retailer has an item missing a part, instead of throwing it out, donate it, said Strizver. She gave an example of a ceiling fan with a broken globe. A fire victim was able to use the fan and buy new globes for it.
Strizver said she was in a tile store one day and asked about tile donations for the warehouse and received some beautiful glass tile.
“All I had to do was ask,” she said. “We’re able to put homes back with the help of these donations.”
Strizver told of another time a company in Los Angeles had thousands of pieces of furniture originally ordered for a hotel. The group rented trucks and brought back 1-1/2 tractor trailer loads to provide furniture for many families.
A fire victim herself, Strizver said many of those who lost their homes had insurance but were very underinsured. As a result, the process of rebuilding is taking time and, although many homeowners are involved in the actual work of rebuilding, their resources are limited. Even with insurance, Strizver said it is sometimes difficult to work with new codes enforced by the county and it takes more money to meet these codes.
“We need help to get houses going, built, furnished,” said Strizver.
By donating new items to the warehouse, Strizver added, “It’s helping the families in your community.”
Anyone interested in donating to the warehouse may check the website, firedupsisters.org, and click on “contact” for e-mail and phone information. Fired Up Sisters will pick up donations.