By Jane Knoerle | Special to the Almanac
When Joanne Klebe learned of the many animals who perished in September's Valley wildfire in Lake County, she says: "It hit me to the core. I live in the wonderful community of Portola Valley, which is horse country and realized this could happen in my own backyard."
Her first thought was to send $100 to an organization that would help feed the surviving animals, then she starting asking friends, hoping to raise $2,000.
"The money started coming in and I started getting better at asking," she says in a thank-you letter to those who contributed to Wine Country Animal Lovers, Middletown Animal Hospital, and the American Red Cross.
Her "bit of fundraising" now amounts to more than $11,000 in cash and enough livestock feed plus dog and cat food to fit in an equine trailer, which was donated by Gary Hanes.
"Well. We couldn't take the trailer up empty, so Gary and I thought we would go to Costco and buy a few bags of dog and cat food," she says.
Asking for donations of feed, they ended up with the trailer and a truck filled with 80 50-pound bags of horse feed, chicken feed, dog and cat food and medical supplies, which they gave to the Middletown Animal Hospital.
The hospital is offering all its services free to fire victims. The fire came up to the hospital driveway, says Ms. Klebe.
"We could not have pulled this off without the help of all of you, You opened your hearts and your pocketbooks to support us. You have made a difference in the lives of the people of the Valley Wildfires," she says in her thank-you letter.
"You have made a difference in my life, too," she adds.