VALLEJO, CA — These horses are some of the many animals who are taking refuge at Solano County Fairgrounds in Vallejo from the Northern California wildfires.
As evacuation centers continue to offer space for many families, the fairgrounds is one of the few places for farm and ranch animals.
“We got individual stalls as well as we have our livestock area which is kind of an open pen,” said Sup. Erin Hannigan from Solano County. “You can combine animals together if you got animals who are friends and don’t want to be separated. This is animals under stress.”
The fairgrounds has been opened since the start of the fire late Sunday evening into early Monday morning but only for animals.
However, according to officials, evacuated families will be able to use the fairgrounds starting today, prompting the fairgrounds to ask for more volunteers.
“We have other needs. We need people to organize the food for the volunteers. We need people to organize the store as what we called it. There’s a lot happening here.”
Fil-Am Vallejo resident Chris de Leon is doing his part, along with his team from Chino’s tacos, in making sure all the volunteers are getting fed.
“I was up at 6 this morning getting the rice together, getting the beans figuring we feed a lot of people. And just the facial expression and the people coming in and grabbing the food, my heart is just overwhelmed.”
With the network of different food companies and the availability of a team of cooks, De Leon says that he knew he wanted to contribute more.
“It didn’t really hit me until Monday night when I seen the news and the air and everything was so surreal. I felt the need to do something to help out. It doesn’t cost me anything. I don’t mind helping people.”
20 minutes north of the fairgrounds, in Napa, fellow kababayan Elaine Crisostomo and her team continue to assist evacuees at Napa College.
“We are stationed here at the front to accept more donations. So we’ve been here for four days, and we are helping all the evacuees who are coming in. There’s so many more coming in. Probably every hour we are receiving 10, 20 more evacuees.”
Other than helping direct donations, Crisostomo has also contributed by buying water and food for the evacuees and toys for the children.
As an entertainment promoter, Crisostomo has pledged that proceeds from her next event will go towards the victims of the wildfires.
“We’re helping because if we were in their position of course, we would want to get help from others. I’m from Solano County so it’d be nice for other people from the county to help too,” she said.
Crisostomo says help is also coming from friends in Los Angeles who are donating money and masks for the relief effort.