Churches, individuals reach out to South Lake Tahoe fire victims |

Churches, individuals reach out to South Lake Tahoe fire victims

Karen Woodmansee
Appeal Staff Writer

South Lake Tahoe churches are reaching out to fire victims and evacuees, but some would like potential to hold back on the donations, at least for awhile.

“We’ve set up a hotline, and we’re taking in people right now,” said Charlie Lincoln, administrator for Sierra Community Church on Sierra Boulevard, South Lake Tahoe.

He said he has spoken to officials at other churches and they have more donations than they can handle, causing more of a problem than it is solving.

“Sierra Baptist Church is overwhelmed with people dropping things off,” he said. “They don’t know how to take care of things people drop off.”

Lincoln said shelter is being offered immediately, and other needs will be met once they are assessed.

He said most area hotels and motels are also opening their doors to the fire victims.

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A worker at First Baptist Church of South Lake Tahoe on Wildwood Avenue said they had canned goods, clothes, diapers, hygiene supplies and more.

“You can never have enough stuff,” she said, adding that the Baptist Association is sending more donations as well as pastors to counsel victims.

Churches aren’t the only ones offering help. The fire devastation touched the heart of an 8-year-old Reno girl, Ashley Smith, who with her parents’ help, is collecting items for child fire victims.

“She said everyone always focuses on the moms and dads,” said Ashley’s mom, Erica.

The Smiths are collecting toys, books, kids’ clothing, anything for children at Erica’s office, Custom Air, a mechanical contractor, 2205 Glendale Ave., Suite 143, Sparks.

Ashley, whose father, Matt, is a Storey County firefighter who has been fighting the Angora fire, said she wanted to collect items because she had a fire at her house in 2005.

“I know what it feels like,” she said.

She said she wanted donors to remember to give items appropriate for both boys and girls, from babies to teens.

“We had a lot of girl stuff come in, and thankfully we had baseball cards and books come in for boys and girls,” she said.

To get help

• To obtain assistance from the Sierra Community Church, or to volunteer, call (530) 544-7055.

You can help

• To donate toys for child fire victims, call Custom Air at 775-331-3337 or 775-527-2245.

• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at or 882-2111 ext. 351.