Throughout wine country, for many people life is getting back to normal after the October wildfires that ravaged the area. But for those who lost their homes -- and some their livelihoods – normal still feels a long ways away, which is why receiving something as simple as a tool can make all the difference.
As the holidays approach, Santa Rosa construction company North Coast Builders Exchange is hosting a Tool Replacement Program to distribute $150,000 worth of hand tools to wildfire victims.
“When all the fires hit, we knew there would be a lot of contractors and others who lost their tools, so the best thing we could do to help them get back to work is to help them get tools donated,” Keith Woods the CEO of North Coast Builders Exchange said from the distribution warehouse in Windsor, CA.
The program was first started to help contractors, trades people and construction workers, but has now expanded to anybody who lost their home.
Evan Hughes, a 31-year-old project engineer at Midstate Construction Company in Petaluma, was picking up tools on Wednesday night.
“There’s something sort of very visceral about losing specifically tools more than books or clothes. I think losing the stuff that earns you money, the stuff that gives you independence,” he said.
“Losing that independence really hurt, so being able to come out here and sort of start the rebuilding process by getting your tools back that really means a lot,” he added.
Roughly 100 contractors came through the warehouse on Wednesday, and organizers say they gave away roughly $1,500 worth of tools per person.
Another distribution day will take place this coming Saturday, Dec. 3 from 12 - 6pm at 5900 Pruitt Ave. in Windsor, CA.
There is no cost, but they will request a FEMA case number or an address so they can be sure the tools go to fire victims.