OKANOGAN—A building that once held slot machines now—at least temporarily— houses donations for fire victims and local firefighters.
The North Star Fire and Okanogan Complex Fires have ravaged Okanogan County and the Colville Reservation. In response to the devastation that has plagued local families, 12 Tribes Casino offered to open the former Okanogan Bingo/Casino to hold the donations that have poured in.
“I just want to clarify the donation center is for tribal members and non-members who have been evacuated, have a total loss or partial loss of home due to the fires, as well as, local firefighters,” said organizer Shandy Abrahamson.
To receive donations, a person must fill out a form with the address from which they evacuated, whether they were a total or partial loss, indicate if that person is tribal or non-tribal and make a list of any items they will be taking.
Abrahamson also noted many local fire station’s resources have been depleted, so the volunteers at the donation center have been putting together care-packages for firefighters.
“Check up on your elders at the HUD housings and across the reservation to see if they are in need of anything, and we can get them a care package sent to their house,” Abrahamson further advised.
The donation center was started Saturday, Aug. 22. Since then, donations from all over the state began pouring into the former casino. From Lake Stevens to Douglas County and Inchelium, truckloads of water, non-perishable food and toiletries filled tables at the donation center.
Even with the donations that are being brought in continuously, many needs are still not being met. Items still needed at the donation center for fire victims and firefighters include, firefighting equipment like: bar oil, chainsaw oil and gas, brake fluid and batteries. Toiletries needed include: hand wipes, eye drops, feminine products, diapers, chapstick and toothbrushes.
For a full list of needs, contact the donation center at (509) 422-7478.