Q&A with MarinCares
Mo DeLong, Larie Flaherty and David Grega created the community-based volunteer organization MarinCares in response to the varying needs of those affected by the North Bay and wine country fires.
1. Were you prepared for the tremendous response you received when you put out the call for volunteers and donations?
LF: We were unprepared for how generous our community would be. We posted, and within hours we had carloads of donations pulling up. Our warehouse quickly filled, and we had many volunteers who sorted and delivered.
2. What kind of support were you able to offer the various communities and individuals affected by the firestorms?
DG: Our first call was for cots, bedding and supplies for the firefighters who had been out fighting the flames 24/7. Then churches, shelters and police stations began alerting us to the needs of families and individuals. We posted these needs to our community via Facebook, and the donations poured in. LF: We received toiletries, clothing, towels, bedding, diapers, phone chargers, pet food, etc. And most important, we were able to deliver these items quickly.
3. What has been your greatest challenge so far, and how did you meet it successfully?
LF: Our first challenge was lack of space. Our original facility quickly overflowed with supplies, especially mattresses, bedding, etc. Johnson and Daly Moving and Storage graciously allowed us to store a great number of items in their facilities. DG: The next challenge was finding out who needed what, when. Once evacuees were allowed to return to their neighborhoods, their needs began to change.
4. You have seen tremendous support from the residents of Marin. What about the businesses — how have they supported recovery efforts?
LF: Marin businesses were quick to respond. CMBS.com gave us the building to set up our operation. RAM Printing helped us create our communication pathways, signage and printing. Rustic Bakery, Harmony, Le Garage, Driver’s Market and Safe Catch donated food. Salesforce, Levis, Knoll and Compass organized donation drives. Apple, Pandora, Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant, Sleep City and Congregation Rodef Sholom are just several of many that contributed greatly.
5. What path do you see for MarinCares in the future?
LF: We intend to continue to assess and assist in times of need. MD: I hope that the support we created will motivate and inspire other communities to get involved — people can come together in times of emergency and truly help one another.