Lo­di­ans step up ef­forts to help wild­fire evac­uees

Lodi News-Sentinel - - Front Page - By Bea Ahbeck NEWS-SEN­TINEL CHIEF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Peo­ple from all over Lodi are mo­bi­liz­ing their re­sources to help the fire vic­tims in Napa, Sonoma and Solano coun­ties. Car­loads of food and other sup­plies are be­ing dropped off at lo­ca­tions around the city, and one win­ery stepped up to help an in­dus­try col­league in need of a place to crush grapes.

One man is get­ting ready to make the drive up to Santa Rosa to help a close friend sift through what’s left of their home, and to try to help start the long process of re­build­ing their lives.

Soon after doors were opened Wed­nes­day morn­ing at Lodi Vines the first car pulled up with a trunk full of dona­tions. Charley Hauner brought his daugh­ter Bess, 9, to help un­load the car. They brought baby for­mula, clothes, and chil­dren’s toys to do­nate. Hauner said he knows at least four peo­ple af­fected by the fire.

Wendy Woodruff, ex­ec­u­tive as­sis­tant at Grace and Mercy, was di­rect­ing staff and vol­un­teers to fill up two trucks with sup­plies gath­ered in its ware­house to be de­liv­ered to two dif­fer­ent col­lec­tion sites in Lodi.

Stacks of boxes of non-per­ish­able food, along with per­sonal hy­giene items, along with dis­pos­able cups and toi­let pa­per, quickly filled up the back of a pick-up truck.

“We’re just try­ing to do­nate what we can. We have to help when we can, that’s what we’re here for,” Woodruff said. Two vol­un­teers then drove the dona­tions to Jessie’s Grove Win­ery, one of sev­eral drop-off spots in town.

Marissa Lange, pres­i­dent of LangeTwins Fam­ily Win­ery, said she re­ceived a call early Mon­day from Fran­cis Ford Cop­pola Win­ery wine­maker Lise Asi­mont, who was in the mid­dle of evac­u­at­ing the Gey­serville win­ery.

She needed grapes crushed, and LangeTwins Win­ery had an open tank avail­able.

“We brought in sev­eral truck­loads,” Lange said. ‘We will make it into wine un­der their pro­to­col,” she said, adding that they will store it un­til the smoke clears and they can get back to think­ing about busi­ness.

“We got a phone call from a friend, and we were happy to help out,” she said.

Lisa Lopes, event man­ager at m2 Wines, said she had felt a tug­ging at her heart to help since she heard about the fires. She put a call out that peo­ple could drop off dona­tions at the Acampo win­ery, and dona­tions soon started com­ing in.

She was also able to con­nect with a man in Elk Grove who had been mak­ing trips up to the af­fected area with dona­tions, and he will be tak­ing the dona­tions she col­lects on daily trips to the area.

“It’s so sad, it could be any of us. If we all work to­gether, we can do our part,” she said.

Jeff John­ston, a li­brar­ian

at Tokay High School, has a close friend whose fam­ily lost every­thing when their Santa Rosa home was de­stroyed.

“I am go­ing to help out a friend, he said. “They got out with their clothes on their back, so they lost every­thing.”

He is plan­ning on driv­ing up on Fri­day with a car full of dona­tions to do what he can to help his child­hood friend and his fam­ily of four.

If they can get back into the area, the plan is to sift through the rub­ble for any­thing worth sal­vaging.

“We’re go­ing to start the process to help them start re­build­ing,” John­ston said.

He also helped start a Go­FundMe page for the fam­ily for ba­sic liv­ing costs as the fam­ily tries to fig­ure out the next steps.

“He is a like brother to me,” John­ston said. “I have known him since I was a fresh­man in high school, I’ve known him for 35 years.”

“When a buddy is in need, you an­swer the call and do what you can do to help out,” he said sim­ply.


Fire burns in the hills above Ken­wood on Tues­day night.


Jessie’s Grove’s gen­eral man­ager Lisa Brand, wine club co­or­di­na­tor Tami Gampp, wine team man­ager Sarah Wil­liams and Grace and Mercy vol­un­teer Jimmy Ger­al­isas stack dona­tions from Grace and Mercy at Jessie’s Grove as Lo­di­ans do­nate food and other items for the vic­tims of the Napa and Sonoma county fires in Lodi on Wed­nes­day.


Charley Hauner and his daugh­ter Bess Hauner, 9, drop off dona­tions at Lodi Vines as Lo­di­ans do­nate food and other items for the vic­tims of the Napa and Sonoma county fires in Lodi on Wed­nes­day.

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