Today was the beginning of the giving back portion of my fire relief auctions.
The first recipient is Rajneel “Neel” Sharma. Neel is a mechanic at Legacy Auto Sales in Santa Rosa. His home, an apartment where he has lived for the last 10 years, suffered damage in the fires. Everything he owns that is not burned is smoke damaged. He had renters insurance but it only covers fire damage up to $1,500.00. He was able to evacuate his family but now all 4 of them are living with his Grandfather in a 2 bedroom duplex. FEMA has given him just $500 for essentials and they are struggling to find housing. His landlord has no timeline for repairs so he is looking for new housing. He was paying $1,100/mo but new 2br units are renting for $2,200/mo. When I saw him last week I gave him a few logo t-shirts that I had on the truck that were his size. He thanked me saying that he had to wash the one outfit he had every day so he could wear it clean to work the next day.
Today I greeted him with a $500.00 gift card for Oliver’s Market so he can feed his family and save money for rent, a $200.00 gift card for WorkWorld so he can buy some clothes and $1,450.00 in cash. His tears of joy eventually turned into a huge smile. Honestly we were both sobbing. He cannot begin to thank you all for your help. He said the cash will help with a security deposit on the new apartment.