Community members continue to show support for the victims of the Courtney and Junction fires nearly four months after two devastating fires tore through the Mountain Area leaving more than 30 families without a roof over their head.
Over the past few days the Mountain Ministerial Association, led by Gordon Kamai, of the Christ Church Anglican, has been distributing gift cards that were purchased using money that was collected during the Oct. 6, spaghetti feed.
The fundraiser, held at ECCO, raised $5,800.65 and served more than 200 people who showed up to donate what they could as a way to lift up those whose homes were incinerated back in September and August.
The association talked with victims and their families to see what they needed most and turned the $5,800 into gift cards to be used for house and building supplies. The Ministerial Association divided the cards evenly among the victims and which were handed out at the convenience of each recipient. Each recipients received roughly $300 in gift cards.
Along with gift cards, recipients received hand-made quilts made by the Underground Quilters Group. Each quilt was donated to the victims free of charge.
Kamai, who helped plan the feed and distribute the cards, said he was proud of all the members of the community who showed their support and gave what they could. Kamai said it was uplifting to see so many people supporting their neighbors.
“The certainty lost a lot more than $300 dollars but its nice to give them some help,” Kamai said.
Kamai said he was touched by the heartwarming support that pored through when the feed opened its doors and one single act of kindness when a 10-year-old boy who had been saving broke open his piggy bank to donate his own $3.65 to the victims.
“It’s in the nature of this community that when a need arises the churches want to help out so we felt it was necessary to come together and use any resources possible to give some help to the people,” Kumai said.
One of the recipients, Vicky Lura, who lost her home in the Country Fire said she was taken back by the generosity and support shown by the community.
“It goes for the whole community.....every bit that everyone gave, from someone giving an article of clothing to the people who walked around in their wagons giving snacks and drinks to the firefighters and victims, and to all the people who attended the spaghetti dinner, those are the heroes of the fire. We are so warmed by them,” Lura said.
Lura said she likes to look at turbulent situations with a class half full and said despite the terrible circumstances her glass continue to be “overflowing” with love.
“There’s a lot of different angles with all these feeling, but the support of the community has made all the difference in how we have processed and dealt with this,” Lura said. “We don’t feel so alone or devastated because of the hundreds of people who donated clothes and household good, food and gift cards and whatever they could.”
Despite feeling at times like she was standing at the edge of a cliff, Lura said the generosity of the community stood as a reminder that even in the worst of times a higher power was watching over her.
“I have seen a lot of miracles in my time but this is the most broadest and most heartwarming situations I have been effected by,” Lura said.
Lura, who rented her home before losing it to the fire, has received packages from as far away as Missouri where a woman sent her a item from every room in their house, and now stays at Bass Lake in a home donated to her until she is able to find a suitable place to rent.
Lura has no idea when she might be able to find a place but said she is grateful that someone reached out and gave her a place while she got back on her feet.
“This fire was an opportunity and restored so much faith in humanity. The Ministry is just one more great example of how supportive and giving this community has been. One more of the many people who have rose to take care of us and it has just been so heartwarming and so supportive,” Lura said