HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. -- As fire victims in Paradise, California are returning back to their homes this weekend with evacuations being lifted, a Denver metro family is continuing to collect items to help the victims get back on their feet.
“Even a small gesture could be life changing to somebody else,” said Bethany Phelps, a Highlands Ranch resident organizing donations for the fire victims.
The Phelps family first got involved when they learned their cousins lost their home in the Camp Fire that tore through Paradise in November.
“It made my heart reach out to them and try to collect items around the house that we could donate to them once they got a new residence,” said Phelps.
As the Phelps family began collecting items, they realized the larger need in the Paradise community.
“I saw many more fire workers and EMTs and people with families and kids that lost everything,” said Phelps.
She opened donations to friends and family through Facebook and Nextdoor.
“The neighborhood completely responded and has donated everything from furniture to baby items to clothes for all ages,” said Phelps.
Now the donations are filling up the Phelps basement.
“Just looking around here and thinking the stuff we have in our home that we have in storage or in the basement or anything that our kids have in toy boxes, it means something to us and there is sentimental value, but what a teddy bear could do to a kid that just lost everything...” said Phelps.
Denver7 viewers are reaching out to help, already offering up donations for the Phelps to take on their trip to bring the donations to families in Paradise in January.
“We plan on going out there and connecting with everybody and bringing them (the donations) to where these people are living and hopefully turning life a little bit around for them,” said Phelps.