By Melissa Garcia
ARVADA, Colo. (CBS4) – Veterans in Colorado are packing donations that they will soon deliver to the victims of the Camp Fire in Paradise, California. For five years, the nonprofit “Boots 66” has traveled all over the country, bringing supplies to people and places struck by disaster.
On Saturday, Wes Love, Tony Brenning and some Lowe’s Home Improvement store employees began loading a huge truck with bags and boxes full of clothing, school supplies and home basics outside of Lowe’s in Arvada near 55th and Wadsworth.
Love and Brenning, both military veterans, have been collecting necessities for displaced Paradise residents since last week, but they need more donations. By Friday, the duo expects to collect five truckloads of goods to donate to the hundreds who have lost their homes in the blaze.
“We said we’ve got to do something to help them… A lot of them are sleeping on the floor,” Love told CBS4’s Melissa Garcia.
The nonprofit founders will be making the delivery in honor of the 109 Coloradans who have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“People helped us when we needed help. Well, (now) it’s our turn,” Love said, of giving back.
Early Friday morning, the vets will start the drive to Chico, California to deliver the supplies to the people who need them most. They will also bring wrapped gifts for children.
“We’ve got toys for the kids. In fact, the Chico police chief is going to dress up as Santa Claus,” Love said.
Upon their arrival, the veterans plan to spend two days serving food to the first responders who are serving displaced residents. Organization founders were asking Coloradans to put their boots on the ground and come out to donate.
“We need it all,” Love explained. “We need school supplies, we need clothing, we need blankets.”
Brenning and Love will return to Lowe’s on Sunday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. to collect more donations from the public.
Lowe’s Home Improvement
5405 Wadsworth Bypass, Arvada, CO 80002
The two will also deliver handmade letters of support to affected children, written by students who attend Jefferson County Public Schools.
“We would like to thank the citizens of Colorado who were with us since Hurricane Harvey last year,” said Brenning, of the community’s ongoing support of Boots 66’s efforts.
Brenning said the donation delivery trips would not be possible without the help of various businesses, agencies and individuals, including Lowe’s, Kathy Genoff, Saint Ann’s parishioners, Jeffco Public Schools, Arvada first responders, Office Depot, King Soopers, Cooper’s Troopers, Arvada Army Navy Surplus, The Perfect Landing Restaurant, all of the ladies who giftwrapped presents for the kids, and everyone who donated and prayed for their safe return.
LINK: Boots 66