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Davis, California

Monday, July 22, 2024

Davis fire relief benefit to aid California fire victims


Tens of thousands of dollars raised by donations alone

Following devastating fires in nearby Butte County, the city of Davis hosted a benefit event to raise money on Nov. 17. Located at the Davis Senior Center, the event featured live music, food trucks and Sudwerk beer.

Local band Mumbo Gumbo as well as Mike Blanchard and the Californios performed on stage. The bands played the sets free of charge according to Lucas Frerichs, a Davis city council member and organizer of the event.

“All we are asking for in terms of an ‘admissions ticket’ is to bring in a gift card, or cash or check and just make a donation,” Frerichs said. “What we’re hearing is that people don’t need stuff donated, they really need access to gift cards so they can actually go and get the things they need.”

While this particular event didn’t accept non-monetary donations, the Davis Police Officers Association is accepting items such as clothing, toiletries and towels at Davis Police Station on Fifth Street. Online donations can also be made through the North Valley Community Foundation on its website.

“We’re working very closely with the police department, but also the fire fighters,” Frerichs said. “We are also working with some of our counterparts in Butte County and the city of Paradise as well.”

A portion of all the profits of food and drink businesses at the event also went toward the effort. Melanie Dubberley and Farrell Scott, owners of the Farmland Street food truck, chose to donate 20 percent of their profits from the event to the cause.

Scott, who has family members in the affected areas, expressed her initial enthusiasm to contribute by donating some of their profit.

“When we found what this [event] was going to be all about, we definitely wanted to participate as well in that respect, let alone just to be here and help everybody,” Scott said.

As the food truck is local to Woodland, Dubberly appreciates the opportunity to aid the local community.

“Community is really important to us, and giving back to the community,” Dubberly said. “So, each individually, we wanted to do what we could for people who are suffering. It was a no-brainer, of course Farmland Street wants to participate too.”

Tracy Walton, a member of the band Mumbo Gumbo, shared her excitement to support her fellow band member.

“Our drummer, Rick Lotter, is the brother of Scott Lotter, who is on the city council in Paradise, so it made a lot of sense for Mumbo Gumbo to play since we have been dying to something for them,” Walton said. “Everybody on the band signed on right away.”

Davis’ local radio station KDRT broadcasted the entire event on air and advertised ways of donating online using Twitter.

“If you tune into KDRT right now you’re hearing that music,” said Shawn Witte, a sixth-year graduate student in computational topology and a KDRT radio DJ. “In between, we’re broadcasting everything they’re saying from the stage, and we’re also talking about the fire benefit.”

Witte touched upon his personal contributions to the relief effort.

“I am one of the few people here who has no personal connection to the fire,” Witte said. “I had some Target gift cards that I’ve had for a while and that I’ve been meaning to use, but they could use them better than I can.”

Davis hosted a similar event last year to support those affected by the fires in Sonoma and Napa counties, raising about $30,000. Frerichs emphasized the importance of reaching out to neighboring areas.

“We really feel like in Davis, if our community ever faced a situation like this, we would just hope that other people would come to our aid,” Frerichs said. “So that’s how we approached this situation. You see this devastation in another community, and we can only help them. We have to do something.”

Frerichs announced at the end of the event that around $54,000 had been raised, excluding proceeds from food and drink.

“We knew that Davis would be generous, we didn’t know they’d be $60,000 generous,” Walton said. “Davis is wonderful, and they love their citizens and their former citizens.”

Written by: Renee Hoh — city@theaggie.org


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