Fires from the Carmel Fire that blew through Carmel Valley and Cachagua in August 2020 torched homes and upended lives. But the strong community spirit of Carmel Valley, led by the new Community Fund for Carmel Valley, rallied around some 27 families, awarding $173,000 to help them recover from the damage and recoup losses.
“Teamwork makes the dream work, in this case. The attitude and enthusiasm for helping neighbors helping neighbors, is joyous,” said Alan Crockett, Community Fund for Carmel Valley Advisory Board Chair.
“This has been an enormous learning experience on how to quickly, nimbly be helpful when folks have lost so much. It’s both heart wrenching and heartwarming. It’s beyond just providing a check,” he explained.
While Marco and Cristian Flagg could do nothing to stop the flames that engulfed their Sky Ranch area home in Carmel Valley, the timely support from the fund helped them with their plans to rebuild. Grant money was used to buy tools and to outfit a cabin they built in one day.
“Following the fire, our property looked like a nuclear bomb had exploded there. Ashes, metal twisted and melted, foundation walls, remnants of the big upright logs of our log house lying like burned matches on the ground, a spooky forest of charcoaled trees. So, the first priority was a cleanup of our lot,” Marco shared. “Cristian and I consider ourselves lucky. We are insured, and while the insurance is basic and will require our own labor and creativity to complete the job, we know we can and will get it done. The grant is much appreciated and the funds will be well used to support our rebuilding.”
The Community Fund for Carmel Valley is an affiliate fund of the CFMC. The fund launched in early 2020 and is led by an advisory board of local residents. Their role is to provide oversight, raise funds, define grantmaking priorities and award grants.
More than 300 donors gave to the Community Fund for Carmel Valley for Carmel Fire Relief. The Fund partnered with Community Emergency Response Volunteers of the Monterey Peninsula (CERV) to deploy funds to Carmel Valley and Cachagua residents.
This article was featured in the Community Foundation for Monterey County's Spring 2021 Newsletter. To learn more or to give, visit cfmco.org/CarmelValley.