By Eric Maldonado, volunteer contributor, American Red Cross

Evan Jacobs, 11, kept close track of the Valley Fire since it started. Every day he looked at the morning newspaper to stay up to date on the firefighters’ progress. His mother, Danelle Jacobs, would even take him to the airport to see the air tankers take off to fight the flames.

Evan wondered what they could do to help those in need. “I was thinking of what my little Cub Scouts could do,” Danelle said. “Then I thought, sifter boxes!”

The group originally built 50 sifters and called the American Red Cross to see if they could help out in any other way. They asked, “Can you build 4,000?” Without hesitating, she answered that they could.

So on a Wednesday night in Santa Rosa, dozens of Boy Scouts and their parents began to assemble 4,000 sifter boxes for those affected by the Valley Fire.

Danelle Jacobs with Steve Countouriotis, Board Chair, American Red Cross of the California Northwest
Danelle Jacobs with Steve Countouriotis, Board Chair, American Red Cross of the California Northwest

These boxes are desperately needed by local residents as they search through the ashes of their homes. Each box brings them closer to finding precious mementos and memories.

As a Scout, Evan feels he has an obligation to assist those in need. “I was seeing all the thousands of homes that were destroyed and thought the Scouts should help,” he said. “I think it’s cool to see all the Scouts building sifter boxes and spending their time helping the victims of the Valley Fire.”

The sifter building project would not be possible without the help of the following generous partners: The Boy Scouts of America Packs of the Redwood Empire Council; Agwood Mill and Lumber in Ukiah for generously donating all of the lumber and pre-cutting it to size; Coldwell Banker agents for their financial donations; Lowe’s for generously discounting the rest of the needed supplies and providing transportation of the materials; and Amy’s Kitchen for kindly providing their parking lot as a space for the Boy Scouts to gather and to build.

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