Desolation founder Torben Yjord-Jackson along with Tiburon native and Desolation team member, Marissa Miller, made the trip to fire-stricken Middletown, California last week to deliver a large collection of donated used and new sports equipment that was collected during a donation drive organized by the Steele family of Tiburon for the victims of the recent Valley Fire in Lake County, California.
While learning of the news of the fire, Lauren and Sarah Steele (an 8th grader and a 6th grader, respectively) shared their sadness with their parents that the kids who lost their homes had also lost something very important - sports equipment that is not only expensive to acquire, but that provides a much-needed outlet for activity and distraction during this difficult time in their lives. They wanted to help.
When the Steele girls’ mother, Dana Linker Steele, saw news on Nextdoor.com that Desolation Outdoors was collecting donations of food items and household necessities for the fire victims, she immediately reached out and offered to have her family organize a donation drive specifically for gently used and new sports equipment.
“My kids are both super sporty, and they were so sad to think about the day to day things that were lost by children - things like the ability to participate in their sport,” Mrs. Steele commented. “Thinking that our community has so much and so many people lost everything - it takes years to rebuild, and many of these things are not first priorities, but may give them a moment of ‘normal’ feeling, especially for the kids.”
Donations were collected at Woodlands Market and Purple Monkey Hair Salon in Tiburon, as well as at the Steeles’ home. On Wednesday morning, October 7, Yjord-Jackson and Miller made the trip to one of the hardest hit areas of the Valley Fire: Middletown, California, where they met with Hannah Flynn, a senior at Middletown High School and the student liaison of the Middletown Sports Boosters.
“This is so amazing,” Flynn commented. “Five of the girls on my softball team, including me, lost their homes and everything in it. I didn’t have time to grab anything out of my house before we had to leave.”
Middletown High School students took time out of class to help unload the trailer and sort through the large collection of donated sports equipment, including nearly 50 tennis rackets, over 20 hockey sticks, nearly 30 lacrosse sticks, and even two standup paddleboards!
The trailer had barely pulled away from the school before the Steele family was already coordinating a holiday decoration donation effort for the families in Middletown, due to kickoff in early November.
For more information on this effort, call Marissa Miller at 415-225-1431, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.