Sand Fire event raises funds, spirits
Nearly a month ago, the fire destroyed 20 homes and burned more than 4,200 acres near the town of Plymouth.
People paid between $10 and $25 to stand in line for plates of pasta, salad and watermelon.
They also crowded onto the lawn at the El Dorado County fairgrounds to hear local bands perform.
They shelled out even more money for raffle tickets and auction items.
"Everybody I know in the community is here," said Brad Clark of Placerville.
With everything donated, organizers hoped to raise at least $100,000.
"We knew if we could get the word out, people would show up and support it," said Ron Thompson, one of the event's organizers.
Organizers said the El Dorado County Foundation and the Red Cross would divvy up the money raised among the victims.
"It will go for the people who need it the most, people with jobs, people without insurance, people that don't have anything," said Taylor Landaker, one of the organizers.
Colleen O'Key came to the microphone to talk about losing her home and to explain that even though she and her husband had insurance, it will not be enough to rebuild.
"We're rebuilding our homes and rebuilding our lives because of your help," O'Key told the crowd.
Thanks to this event, O'Key said she is more convinced than ever that this community is her home.
"Money is one thing, but to have this kind of turnout and this kind of support is amazing," said said.
O'Key received hugs and danced in front of the stage.
After weeks of feeling isolated by her disaster, she said she finally has a reason to smile.
"Oh, this is definitely the best day. And live music too!" she said.
Organizers said they hope that years from now when people look back at the Sand Fire, this will also be part of their memories.
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