Community comes together to collect donations for families who lost their homes in fires

SAN MARCOS, Calif. - Members of the San Elijo Hills community met in a local park Sunday to gather donations for families who lost their homes in the fires.

The event was organized by a women's group called the SHEs of San Elijo Hills. They organized the event within the last 24 hours and spread the word through social media, fliers and word of mouth.

Group members say they were able to return to their homes intact and wanted to help the other families who were not as fortunate.

"You just realize how thankful we are and lucky we are to have our homes and we've been able to lean on each other," said organizer Melinda Staab.

The group "adopted" two families who have lost homes in the fire. One family has four children and another on the way.

"They lost everything but the clothes on their back. We've never met them, don't know anything about them, but we heard their story and as mothers we can all sympathize," said Staab.

She is referring to the Sekerke family, who lost their home along Washingtonia Drive in the Cocos Fire. They told 10News on Saturday they were grateful that they all made it out safely.

As of early afternoon, the SHEs had collected more than $8,000 in cash and gift cards as well as piles of donated clothes, toys and furniture.

"I never thought in a million years that we'd get this many donations," said Staab.

The group also plans to donate to other families who lost their homes.

"We've adopted two families but we realize there's about 30 other families, which when we're overloaded here, we're going to donate to them too," said Kelly Harrington.

When the Sekerke family saw the community's generosity, they were overcome with emotion.

"It's amazing. I definitely didn't expect this … this is just amazing," said mother Amanda Sekerke. "It's really going to help us get back on our feet because it was an incredible loss, just losing everything."  

She added, "It's just so much support. I just want to hug every one of these people."

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