Kudos & Kindness | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Kudos & Kindness

Amid ash, sirens, fear and sorrow on June 25, a few parishioners from St. Theresa’s Catholic Church got together and asked Father Michael if the Parish Hall could be used to serve lunch to the evacuees of the Angora fire. Because our homes and lives were spared, we needed to do whatever it took to help those who were not as fortunate.

After hearing an offer on the radio from a local pizza parlor broadcasting a donation of free pizzas wherever evacuees were located, the wheels began to turn. A few phone calls later, word was circulating around town that St. Theresa was open for business. People started coming in for food and fellowship. Restaurants started calling. Their offer to help supply food and to-go boxes for upcoming meals was gladly accepted. Before we knew it, breakfast, lunch and dinner for the next two days was scheduled. We were committed.

There is a saying “If you build it, they will come,” and truly they came. The evacuees, volunteers, restaurants and thankfully the food. We even had the Boy Scouts of Gardnerville, Troop 411, preparing lunch on Tuesday. Surprisingly we started becoming a true community canteen. Our little idea to roll up our sleeves and serve those most effected by the fire developed into a true need when the American Red Cross phoned. They asked us to provide the evacuation center 150 servings per each meal until the end of the week. The airport command center also called requesting between 80 to 100 servings for each meal. Various volunteer centers such as Noah’s Wish needed food as well. We even supplied food to those who were unable to physically make the trip to our hall. Luckily, we had plenty of local restaurants and chefs who, without being asked, helped us prepare, serve and deliver more than 4,650 meals that week.

Our mission could not have succeeded without the help of the following businesses and individuals who volunteered their time and opened their kitchens, as well as their wallets, to help us feed so many people in need. The restaurants, cafés and bakeries that helped us were Port of Subs, Rude Bros. Coffee Haus, Starbucks, Wild Man Coffee, Taqueria Jalisco, Fat City, Taco Taqueria, Don’s Bakery, Goodfella’s Pizza, Grand Central Pizza, New York Pizza, Applebees, Chevy’s, Riva Grill, Cafe Fiori, Nepheles, Mama’s Red Tomato, Blue Water Bistro, Freshies, Tep’s Villa Roma, Wolfgang Puck, Cinnabon, La Promesa Bakery, Plaza Tapatia and Los Mexicanos. The stores that donated to this cause were Safeway, Raley’s, Longs Drugs, Bonanza Produce, Lake Tahoe Holidays Gift Store, and Rose Petals Florist. Our local casino/hotels supplied much of the to-go boxes and paper supplies. Thank you Horizon and Harrah’s/Harveys. Please visit these restaurants, stores and businesses in the future as they epitomize the local mentality of giving.

We live in a small, close-knit community. Most of us know someone who has been effected one way or another by the Angora Fire. Our patronage of these establishments will enable them to continue employment. We want them to think of beautiful South Lake Tahoe as home, now and for years to come.

We were also blessed with the culinary talents of the following individuals: Diane Weidinger, Jeanette Shippee, Hugo Lizaola, Marc Aliosio, Kevin Regan, Stephen Moise and Bill Marchetti. The list of volunteers who helped cook, clean, serve and deliver food includes locals and visitors alike and is truly too long to mention without forgetting someone’s name. However, you know who you are and how truly thankful we are to you.

The conflagration destroyed countless homes, scorched and blackened our beautiful forests and disrupted lives. However, we are grateful no lives were lost and the fire was controlled within a week of its start. Now, as the embers cool and the anxiety associated with every new siren lessens, we can take a sigh of relief and begin the rebuilding of our homes, our lives and our forests. A heartfelt thank you goes out to all the people who put their own livelihoods on hold to help other regain theirs. Thank your South Lake Tahoe. We love you.

Daunelle Wulstein and Robyn Smith

South Lake Tahoe

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