Woodside Delivers!

hay donation

Woodside Community Foundation Relief Fund Delivers

Sonoma County Fairgrounds, CA: On Sunday afternoon, October 15, 2017, a tractor trailer loaded with grass hay was delivered to the Sonoma County Fairgrounds to help feed more than 400 animal refugees left homeless after the devastating fires that rampaged through the County just about one week ago. This giant load of hay was donated by the San Joaquin Hay Growers Association (thanks to WCF Board member Rick DeBenedetti), and the transport and offloading costs were covered with funds from WCF's North Bay Horse and Livestock Disaster Relief Fund.

In the next few days, two more donated loads of alfalfa and grass hay will be delivered to the Ukiah and Solano County Fairgrounds with the transport and offloading costs covered by the North Bay Disaster Relief Fund. Yet another load of grass hay donated by the Mounted Patrol of San Mateo County has been delivered to the Napa Fairgrounds. And WHOA!'s Fawni Hill delivered an enormous load of supplies and equipment (buckets, halters, medicines, etc.) donated at Day of the Horse to a Napa holding facility. These donated goods will then be distributed to Solano, Napa and Sonoma Counties as needed.

Woodside's Fire Marshal Denise Enea was on scene Sunday at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds to make sure that the first delivery was successful, and that the bales of hay were stacked and properly stored without having to burden other on-site volunteers.

Some of Denise Enea's observations from the day:

Denise Enea"I arrived in the morning well before the truckload of hay was delivered. There were at least 400 animals in pens, mostly horses but there are some cows, goats, alpacas, pigs, sheep and even some poultry. Many people who have lost everything are simply camped out with their animals. They have nowhere else to go now but need to stay close to their animals. Most animals at the evacuation center have owners but a growing number continue to arrive with no one to claim them.

While I was waiting for the grass to be delivered, I worked with several other volunteers to organize the vast number of donated bags of grain. We organized the bags by type, placed them on pallets, and then moved them into the barns so they wouldn't be soaked by the rain that is due later this week.

The outpouring of volunteer support was incredibly heartwarming to see. There were at least 100 volunteers including lots of veterinarians and a team of incredibly hard-working girls who were cleaning stalls, and making sure the animals had fresh water and bedding. The volunteers are doing a great job!

When the tractor trailer finally pulled in with the load of hay, everyone around the Fairgrounds started to cheer and clap!

Perhaps the most unexpected and touching part of the day involved the Firefighters. In addition to serving as a large animal evacuation site, the Sonoma County Fairgrounds is also being used as a staging and crew rest area by the National Guard, and by Fire Departments and their handcrews from around the State.

Around 11AM, I started to see crews of six and seven firefighters come in to get a shower, catch a meal and rest up a bit. Once the crews got a bit of food in their stomachs and some rest, they wandered over to hang out with the horses. They just wanted to be with the animals, to pet them, and to offer help. The fire crews were awestruck by the horse community's extraordinary generosity, commitment and organization. That the horse community could come together so quickly to help these animal refugees was a real inspiration.

At the end of the day, when everything was put away, I looked up and across the city of Santa Rosa and could see smoke billowing over the surrounding hills. It was a stark reminder that this County is not out of the woods yet."

Contribute to the Relief Fund

Help support large animal disaster relief through the Woodside Community Foundation.

For more information, contact Rick DeBenedetti, (650) 303-2661.

Donation Page

You may also send a check payable to:

Woodside Community Foundation
P.O. Box 620494
Woodside, CA  94062

Thank you for your help and support.