GILROY—With the help of friends and aided by a Facebook post that went viral, a Gilroy mother of three has spearheaded a nearly two-week effort to convoy help to human and animal victims of the Sierra fires.
Jenny Mosher, 31, has seen off thousands of diapers, tons of hay and feed and piles of clothing and blankets from her Gilroy home, all donated by businesses and individuals and sent in truck convoys to fire-ravaged communities in Northern California.
“The outpouring of support has been just phenomenal, Gilroy has really come through, I’ve got to tell you,” Mosher said Tuesday. “We literally have had so much that was given and it has just been so amazing,” she said.
At last count, fires in five California counties have killed three people, left thousands homeless, scattered and killed farm and wild animals, burned more than 80,000 acres and destroyed more than 1,500 homes and other structures, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
Mosher’s mission of mercy began when she saw a Facebook post by an old friend, Nick Vellios, in Valley Springs, in Calaveras County near Angel’s Camp.
“He posted … ‘Everything is on fire.’ So I sent him a message asking what he needed, if he was OK,” Mosher recalled.
Vellios then added her to a chat group with two of his friends, whom she did not know, and it mushroomed from there.
“A week ago this past Sunday, we all met at Costco” in San Jose she said.
Soon, they were pooling their money to buy diapers, wipes, towels pet food and other necessities to send north.
The turning point happened when Mosher went to the web seeking a little help.
“I started posting [on Facebook] asking if anyone has any clothes in good condition, nonperishable food, blankets, tents, an extended list, to donate and said to feel free to contact me.”
At that point, she said, “It completely blew up from there, I had people sharing my posts all over the Bay Area; I was kind of the ringleader at that point because my posts had gone viral,” she said.
Indeed, she heard from people as far away as North Carolina.
Closer to home, Feather Haven Feed, G&K Farms and the Luke family, of Gilroy, Friends of the San Martin Animal Shelter in San Martin, Gilroy Animal Hospital and many others responded to her call for help, donating hundreds of bales of hay, clothing, food and cash.
“With everyone’s, help we have sent out 16 [truck] loads to each fire,” she said. “The
biggest was six loads this past Sunday. We all met at my house, the entire garage was filled with brand new tents and everything you can think of,” Mosher said.
“My husband’s pickup truck was loaded with 50 hay bales … dog and cat food, all the stuff loaded to the brim in my husband’s truck.”
And then there was the wedding in the midst of all the donations and trucks and bales of hay.
“My best friend has been co-coordinator with me, she opened up her house for donations, all while preparing for her wedding last Saturday,” where, Mosher said, her friend Allie Bunnell became Allie Bradbury.
“We had a San Jose firefighter, Alex Bruni, drive down and purchase hay bales for one of our first loads that went out,” Mosher said.
Mosher, who through it all, and the on-going effort, also was caring for her three children, ages 7, 2 and 6 months, gives all the credit to those who have been as busy as she has been on behalf of the fire victims.
In addition to her husband Trevor and friends Allie and Nick, Mosher said these people from Gilroy, Morgan Hill and San Jose have played a huge role in the project: Erin Southland and Jose Luke from Gilroy; Mike Lancaster and Joey Weitz of Morgan Hill; Monique Ventura, Joey Ploshay, Brent Dawson and John Mikita of San Jose; and Randy Blumfield of Willow Glen.
A video Mosher posted of a convoy leaving Gilroy has had more than a thousand views, and she has become so involved in the effort that she has been in direct contact with some of the fire victims to find out their needs and those of the animals impacted by the blazes.
Anyone who has questions or wants to help can email [email protected].