Donations for firefighters no longer needed, but won’t go to waste

Submitted photo Amy Larsen, lead coordinator for the American Falls First Responders Appreciation Committee, sought donations of items to help firefighters who did not have enough supplies until their own resources kicked in. Many in the community quickly got behind the effort and left supplies at locations like KATZ Joulet Plaza on McKinley Avenue in Pocatello. While there is no longer a need to assist firefighters, the donations are still being used to help other first responders and evacuees, Larsen said.

Submitted photo
Amy Larsen, lead coordinator for the American Falls First Responders Appreciation Committee, sought donations of items to help firefighters who did not have enough supplies until their own resources kicked in. Many in the community quickly got behind the effort and left supplies at locations like KATZ Joulet Plaza on McKinley Avenue in Pocatello. While there is no longer a need to assist firefighters, the donations are still being used to help other first responders and evacuees, Larsen said.

By Journal Staff

When Amy Larsen saw a friend’s Facebook post about firefighters working on the Powerline wildfire near Pocatello not having enough supplies while they were waiting for their own resources to kick in, she quickly responded.

Larsen is the lead coordinator for the American Falls First Responders Appreciation Committee, a group formed last year that raises funds and strives to help first responders in the area.

As a result of the committee’s efforts, Larsen said she was able to pick up and deliver water, Powerade, granola bars, nuts and jerky to the firefighters’ wives stationed at Bannock Peak.

She also followed up with a Facebook post about the need, and she said others soon joined the effort.

Numerous businesses gave donations and set up donation sites for community members who wanted to get involved, Larsen said, adding that a church and food bank also donated.

Larsen said they were simply trying to fill a temporary need for supplies, but they soon had a stockpile of donations — much more than she ever expected to get.

“It’s very humbling to me,” she said.

BLM officials said Sunday that they appreciate the public’s thoughtfulness. But the firefighters currently have all of the amenities they need and donations aren’t required.

The Pocatello Fire Department reported Sunday that it doesn’t have supply shortages right now either, but it has received a lot of donations from the community. Those supplies will be given to local homeless shelters and the Idaho Foodbank, Pocatello firefighters said.

Larsen said any extra donations they have will not go to waste either. She says there are law enforcement officers and other first responders assisting at the fires, and the donations are being used to help them. The supplies are also being used to help those who have been displaced by the fire.

“At this point, we’re just here to help. We don’t want to get in anyone’s way,” she said, but added that they are going through the appropriate channels to get supplies to those who are in need.

Larsen said any extra items may be used during future emergencies or to aid first responders during the upcoming eclipse.

Since they have enough to meet needs at the moment, Larsen said they’re not actively seeking donations. But people can contact her at 208-223-9243 with any questions.

BLM officials and the American Falls First Responders Appreciation Committee are encouraging those who still want to help to make donations to the American Red Cross or Wildland Firefighter Foundation.