National News

Front Lawn Turns Into Pop-Up Donation Center For Fire Victims

Posted December 9, 2017 11:40 a.m. EST

— It's an example of neighbor helping neighbor in the worst of times.

The front of Justin Shipp and Sara Masterson's home may look like a yard sale, but the only currency here is goodwill.

"It's a swap meet without changing hands," organizer Sara Masterson said.

The house is a stone's throw from dozens of others that were destroyed in Thomas Fire. Thick heavy smoke still loomed over many parts of Ventura Friday.

Masterson had to bail from her house in Ventura Tuesday but when she got home, she got on Instagram and reached out to anyone with a big heart and some helping hands.

"It's people donating gently used items and it's getting in the hands of the people that need them," Masterson said.

Her front lawn became a pop-up donation center, filled with shoes, clothing and food.

Tucker Hopkins and his girlfriend drove all the way from Venice Beach with a truckload of stuff.

"I got a couple of friends of mine that lost houses, lost homes, and I know a bunch of the firemen who are responding to it," Tucker Hopkins said. "It's the least I could do."

Plenty of people have been showing up in the past few days needing help. Some have come by to grab toiletries, food and water for neighbors or family members who are too intimidated to ask for themselves.

"I was just so amazed and it just reaffirmed in my heart that people are really, really good," Karine Masterson said.

College students who graduated from Ventura High School were seen coming back to their hometown with bags and bags of clothes after they got wind of this on social media. For this selfie generation, it may have been a picture-perfect moment.

"It's just everyone taking what they can, to make our community whole again," Masterson said. "They're doing what they can whether they're opening their hearts, their wallets, their homes, their hands, and we're going to rebuild Ventura. And it's going to be awesome."