By Kaitlyn Robertson
In times of crisis, the Angwin community continues to stand strong. With the smoke still drifting, community members came together to support victims and firefighters of the Napa and Sonoma fires.
Wednesday morning on Oct. 18, Ruth Mendoza, a volunteer for Meals on Wheels, organized the community to help box groceries. The Napa Valley Food Bank arrived at the Calistoga fairgrounds with groceries for 100 families. A team from PUC Prep, Elementary and College – including Natalie Yialelis, Juan Hidalgo and Francesca Lucchesi- and the Calistoga community center stepped up to help. They unloaded the food-bank truck, and loaded the food into boxes. Families affected by the fire came to the fairgrounds to pick up the grocery relief as well as N95 masks that were being distributed by Adventist Health.
Support also came from Maelee and Melissa Millard. Together, they held a fundraiser outside the College Market on Oct. 17, selling lemonade and brownies for a dollar each, raising a total of $101. She donated all the funds to Redwood Credit Union’s North Bay Fire Relief Fund. RCU partnered with the RCU Community Fund to create the fire relief fund. With RCU covering all administrative costs, Maelee’s full donation went directly to relief efforts that was to be spread equally among the affected counties.
While visiting a friend in Napa, Film and TV major, senior Sarah Martinez also found a way to help. Martinez encountered a friendly, lost dog. Down the street, she met a second lost dog, which hovered around one house. Behind the gate, seven more dogs ran around. After investigating, Martinez discovered a hole from which the two had escaped. Martinez knocked to meet the owner, an evacuee from Santa Rosa. She had come to Napa after losing her home the previous night. Together, they boarded up the fence to keep the dogs from escaping again.
Through it all, the Angwin community kept each other informed through the Facebook group “Angwinville.” Communication was key in keeping calm and staying supportive in the face of uncertainty. The page was updated regularly as winds shifted, roads closed and electricity failed. In the aftermath, word spread of events and stories such as Mendoza’s and Millard’s. As the region heals from the fire, strong communities like Angwin carry hope and love for all those affected.