A local crafter is teaming up with knitters from The Senior Center at Ashland City to help raise money for family members devastated by wildfires in Paradise, California. Elaine Childress’ aunt Helen Garber and several members of her aunt’s family, about 16 people in all, escaped the fires last November with basically the clothes on their backs and some of their pets. Now, almost a year later, Garber is basically “couch surfing,” getting temporary housing through her church and her friends, Childress said. To help her aunt and her cousins who are still struggling to get back on their feet, Childress is working with the Ashland City Loomers knitting group to sell hats, scarves, afghans, and other knitted items to help raise $25,000 for her aunt to have her own place to stay this winter. So far, they have raised about $3,600.
Childress explained her aunt has been the anchor of her family for many years. “She lost her mom at 15 years old, but that didn’t stop her. She then helped with grandparents, great-grandparents, sisters, and brothers when needed. My aunt survived an abusive marriage. My aunt was our home base when my dad was in the military and then when I served,” she said. In addition, Garber has helped several people in her community battling cancer and other illnesses, all while on a fixed income.
“Helping her get back on her feet is one way I hope to help repay all the service she gave our family and others. She has always been a hero to me and a person who always goes the extra mile to help ones in need,” Childress explained. “I’m thankful to the ladies of the Ashland City Loomers and Senior Center who feel the service need, too, and have helped me. They are all angels and heroes in my book, too,” she said.
If you’d like to help, you can purchase hats, scarves, afghans, headbands, pot scrubbers, and other knitted goods at Childress’ next craft sale at the parking lot in front of the Tractor Supply store on Frey Street on Nov. 2, weather permitting. Or, you can purchase knitted items at the Senior Center on Wednesday’s or Friday’s from 9-11 a.m. You can also contribute to the GoFundMe set up for Helen Garber and her family here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/paradise-fire-helen-garber-ampfamily.