ACS Manages Hooper Bay Fire Donations
Explosions filled the air in early August, destroying more than a dozen homes in Hooper Bay, Alaska, as well as the public elementary and high schools and one village store. Hooper Bay is a small Yup'ik Eskimo village of approximately 1,100 people about 535 miles west of Anchorage. More than 250 people were evacuated from their homes to escape the fire, which was apparently started by kids playing with matches. Though there was only one minor injury, the loss of valuables and homes devastated many families.
In the days following the fire, donated goods started arriving in Bethel, a hub town where mail, health, education and government is administrated for a 50-village area of the Yukon/Kuskokwim delta of western Alaska. Hooper Bay was overwhelmed with more than 100,000 pounds of donated goods with very limited storage space.
Incident Command requested donation specialists to take control of the accumulating donations in Bethel.
Jim Kincaid, Adventist Community Services coordinator for Alaska, offered to help. He recruited John and Andria Payne of Wasilla to go to Bethel. They located and rented a vacant airline hangar at the Bethel airport to warehouse and inventory the more than 30,000 pounds of donations that arrived in the next few days. Urgently needed goods such as food, outdoor gear and personal care items were immediately transported to the village. Other items were stored for later distribution. Later, a rummage sale was organized to sell the surplus clothing that had accumulated at the warehouse. More than $3,500 was raised for the Hooper Bay Relief Fund.