Nearly a week into the firestorm that has ravaged Sonoma and Napa counties in Northern California, fresh evacuations are being ordered. Marconi Conference Center, which overlooks Tomales Bay in Marshall, CA, continues to take in evacuees fleeing the fires.
Even with a scheduled conference taking place, the Marconi staff continued to extend their unwavering support to provide shelter and food to evacuees—sharing their kitchen and finding an alternate space to set up and serve dinner. The management and kitchen staff—particularly Jo Ann, who is in charge of the kitchen—have been generous and organized.
Some of the evacuees ventured home yesterday, to see what remained, with the hope of being able to return to their homes. That resulted in a very somber mood last night, as they returned to Marconi, lungs filled with poisoned air and a thread of hope they’d clung to snapped by what they saw. People were raw. With winds and humidity conditions expected to worsen over the weekend, there seemed no end in sight.
Once again, the volunteers continue to give, do and be what is needed. There were some young volunteers as well, helping to set up food, scooping out tubs of donated Straus ice cream, and offering to take stressed, displaced dogs on walks to give their owners relief. Their presence added a much needed boost of positive energy and levity.
Last night people enjoyed donated cheese from Cowgirl Creamery, salad from Greenleaf, a crab and shrimp mac n cheese, left over tri tip turned into tacos, Esteban, a sous chef at Marshall Store, and his mother made enchiladas, pizza from Whale of a Deli. Everyone found something to enjoy. (even the dogs got a sneaky bite of the tri tip!)
Businesses not directly involved in feeding and housing the evacuees are finding their own ways to contribute. Dan Thompson, owner of the Tap Room in Inverness, California, held a benefit dinner last Thursday. All proceeds went to aiding evacuees. Dan expressed his solidarity, “We have to do all we can to help our neighbors over the hill who’ve lost so much.”
Although the names of the many volunteers are not available, we extend a heartfelt collective “thank you” to everyone who helped. The outpouring of community support has been extraordinary. We’d like to acknowledge local businesses who donated so much, and without whose generosity, none of this would have been possible.
Bittersweet: 16 year old celebrates birthday with other fire evacuees in West Marin
West Marin offers shelter, food and support for families fleeing the Sonoma and Napa fires.