LYONS, Ore. — Homes have burned in the Santiam Canyon and some families may still not know the extent of the damage with the highway still closed and evacuation orders still in place.
But communities near and far are pitching in to help families affected by the wildfires.
On Wednesday community and staff members at Mari-Linn School in Lyons unpacked a 30-foot truck filled with donations from Minot, North Dakota.
“I have everything from books and school supplies, and backpacks for the kids, clothing, shoes,” said Lyndsie Ferrell, who spearheaded the donation effort.
She and her family all came to deliver the donations. Ferrell lives in Minot, North Dakota but grew up in the Santiam Canyon.
“My kids went to Mari-Linn,” said Ferrell. “I attended Mari-Linn and lived on the North Fork when I was a kid.”
So, when she heard about the fire and all the devastation, it hit her especially hard.
“I knew I had to do something,” Ferrell said. “I put on social media, ‘we need help’ and the community really gathered behind me.”
Before she knew it, the donations were pouring in.
“We couldn’t get in our home,” said Ferrell. “I have a three-story home. My basement was full, my living room, we could not get anywhere in our house.”
That was after her first donation drop-off event. By the time her second donation event was done, her yard was packed with donations.
Meantime, back in Oregon, Mari-Linn principal Jeri Harbison had been in contact with Ferrell about what she was doing to help and the donations.
“I said, 'sure absolutely,' thinking a couple of boxes would show up,” said Harbison.
But she didn’t expect an entire 30-foot truck filled with donations to arrive.
“It’s just amazing, the kindness and the generosity,” Harbison said.
All this is some much-needed positivity, after students, staff and the community first had to deal with COVID-19, then the wildfires. School is finally starting up online next week.
“We had to have school start two weeks later than we normally would,” said Harbison. “You can’t use that word resilient enough. They’re just strong and amazing, amazing people up here.”
“It takes a tragedy to bring this many people together and I wish that feeling would stick,” said Ferrell. “Go out and help. Do something to help someone else out.”
For now, the idea is for families to get a chance to pick up the stuff they need at Mari-Linn School on Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The intention is to have more pickup days throughout the month.
For now, Harbison said no more donations are needed at this point.
But you can keep tabs on the school’s Facebook page for updated information.