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Fire Relief Donations & Resources

Destructive fires in across the Big Country have burned thousands of acres and destroyed homes and other buildings. This page provides information on where to donate and where those in need can find resources.

Ways to Give

Big Country Fire Relief Fund

The Big Country Fire Relief fund will provide grants to volunteer fire departments and nonprofits serving those affected by the Mesquite Heat fire in Taylor County. This fund may also support VFDs and nonprofits serving people affected by other fires throughout the Big Country as needed.

  • Donate online here or at the button below.
  • To donate via check, make checks out to Community Foundation of Abilene with the fund name in the memo. Mail checks to the Community Foundation of Abilene at PO Box 1001; Abilene, TX 79604.

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Volunteering and Other Ways to Help

The general public is asked to stay away from the fire area.

Agencies serving fire evacuees urge people interested in helping to give monetary donations. The Big Country VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) and Beltway Park Church, which serves as an evacuee shelter, report crews do not need volunteer help or supplies at this time. Monetary donations are an ideal way to ensure dollars are efficiently and effectively utilized. Read more below on how our fire relief funds will be deployed.

To follow updates on other opportunities, monitor the Big Country VOAD webpage.

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Resources for People Needing Assistance

People in need of immediate assistance can find updated resources at the Big Country VOAD website or by calling 211.

The Big Country VOAD is coordinating a Recovery Resource Center located at Beltway Park South for families and individuals impacted by the Mesquite Heat Fire needing long-term financial assistance. This assistance will include help with insurance claims, applications for financial aid, and more.

  • Location: Beltway Park South, 4009 Beltway South. Use Chapel Entrance (watch for signage)
  • Dates: Tuesday, May 24 – Friday, May 27
  • Time: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM

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How Donations are Used

Donations will go out as grants to organizations serving the affected communities. Some grants will go to volunteer fire departments to meet their needs, and some grants will go to nonprofits and churches that will use the funds to provide aid to people who need it. The Community Foundation of Abilene does not plan to give funds directly to individuals at this time. Some funds will, however, be quickly deployed to meet urgent needs (see below).

Why give to the relief funds instead of directly to organizations in those communities? It streamlines the process and ensures donations can be used in the most effective way possible, where they are needed most.

Our team is actively working with agencies on the ground in the affected areas to determine when and where to begin deploying grant dollars. Grants will go out in two phases:

  1. Immediate relief needs: Some grants will go out within hours to organizations helping people who need immediate assistance. Examples of immediate relief may include: gift cards to help families pay for food and other essential needs; money for rental assistance and temporary lodging; etc.
  2. Long-term recovery needs: Other grants will go out during the recovery phase to meet long-term needs for those most greatly impacted. Donations will not be parked for an extended period of time without a purpose. Some donations will, however, be used in the weeks and months following the fires to help with the rebuilding process and ensure needs are met for those who experience major loss.

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Eastland County Fire Relief Fund

The Community Foundation has partnered with the Eastland Community Foundation to establish the Eastland County Fire Relief Fund in response to the March wildfires. This fund will provide grants to fire departments and nonprofits serving people and businesses in towns like Carbon, Gorman, Rising Star and Eastland. The video below shows some of the encouraging messages from donors to the fund.