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Residents reach out to help Bastrop evacuees

By BY J.R. ORTEGA - JRORTEGA@VICAD.COM
Sept. 6, 2011 at 4:06 a.m.
Updated Sept. 7, 2011 at 4:07 a.m.

Ken Smeltzer, right, hugs neighbor Heather Lutz, center,  outside Steiner Ranch on Tuesday.  More than 1,000 homes have been destroyed in at least 57 wildfires across rain-starved Texas, most of them in one devastating blaze near Austin that is still raging out of control, officials said Tuesday.

DONATION DROP OFF LOCATIONS

Donation items: pillows, blankets, canned goods, toiletries and cash donations

Drop off locations:

- 425 Mission Valley Acres Road in Mission Valley

- 206 Byron Lane, Victoria

- 15398 U.S. Highway 87 South in Placedo - 1808 Sam Houston Drive, Victoria

For more information on added drop off locations, call Amanda Lynch at 361-935-8656.

The Eagles Lodge in Port Lavaca, led by Chaplain Debra Leigh, is collecting bottled water, nonperishable food items, hygienic items, baby formula and diapers, blankets and clothing. Drop offs can be made at the lounge at state Highway 35 South at 361-482-7586.

First Baptist Church of Gonzales is accepting donations including blood pressure cuffs, diabetic supplies, diapers, baby food, nonperishable food, clothing (including underwear), toiletries trash bags, bottled water and gift cards to Walmart or H-E-B. Donations can be made at the church, 422 Saint Paul St. For more information, call 830-672-9595.

Tammy Brasher, owner of Harley's Restaurant, Harley's Liquor, Yoakum Pawn and Jewelry, is accepting pillows, blankets, bottled water, nonperishable food items and toiletries. Donations can made at the business locations or to the Yoakum Chamber of Commerce at 105 Huck St. For more information call Brasher at 361-798-0056.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

about how to use Brackenridge as an evacuation site, call the main office at 361-782-7272 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. After hours, call Manager Cammie Pearson at 361-781-4052.

MISSION VALLEY - Amanda Lynch cannot erase the images of a raging inferno burning through an area she's quite familiar with.

Lynch, a Mission Valley stay-at-home mom, was raised in Lexington, just north of Bastrop, and woke up Tuesday morning knowing she had to do something.

"I couldn't sleep at night," Lynch said. "It kept eating at me."

After downing some coffee, Lynch immediately got to work sending out a mass Facebook post about donations she and her friends are accepting for those affected by the fire in Bastrop, which is about 110 miles north of Victoria. She also started working on some fliers.

For now, the drop-off sites are at her mother's and mother-in-law's houses, but she's hoping word of mouth will help bring in more donations and new drop off locations.

Lynch is in communication with the Bastrop Christian Ministerial Alliance, which will help with the donations.

Displaced families are needing pillows, blankets, canned goods, toiletries and cash donations.

"It's absolutely devastating," Lynch said. "People are going back to having absolutely nothing."

Meanwhile, out in Edna, the Brackenridge Recreation Complex has opened its doors to evacuees and displaced families, said manager Cammie Pearson.

The complex has 88 stalls available, plus two indoor arenas and one outdoor arena and several pens and RV sites.

As of Tuesday night, the complex had not taken in any evacuees, Pearson said.

"When we were building the complex, we discussed becoming an evacuation site," Pearson said. "But it was more in relation to a hurricane evacuation. We never really thought about fires."

The complex manger also knows residents willing to help families, but the complex is ready to help if evacuees use the center.

"We're here if they need a place," she said. "There is a lot of people wanting to help."

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