Local volunteers accepting donations for Yarnell community

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by Catherine Holland

Video report by Tess Rafols

Posted on July 3, 2013 at 10:05 AM

Updated Sunday, Jul 7 at 6:09 PM

Map: 2401 N. Central Ave., Phoenix

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PHOENIX -- The Goodyear Firefighters Wives Club and joined forces with members of several local unions Wednesday to collect donation for those affected by the Yarnell Hill Fire, including the families of the 19 firefighters killed while battling the blaze.

Several volunteers were on hand to greet the numerous people who stopped by the UFCW parking lot throughout the morning to drop off bottled water, non-perishable food items and money.

Contributors also signed a banner to show their support for those whose lives have been forever changed by the fire.

"When you read these [messages], you realize that this does touch everybody," 3TV's Tess Rafols said during a live report. "This is your chance, Arizona, to give back."

"I've been kind of looking for ways to help," one 3TV viewers told Rafols. "It was on my way to work and a little more convenient for me."

The drop-off location, which is Central Avenue south of Thomas Road, opened at 6 a.m. Volunteers will be on site until 1 p.m. Wednesday. After that, they will take everything up north.

Cash donations will be given to 100 Club's HEROS Fund in Memory of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, which provides money for the families of the fallen heroes, as well as helping those who are injured.

Food and water donations are being delivered to Open Door in Prescott, part of the Coalition for Compassion and Justice, which is providing recovery services for the residents of Yarnell.

There are variety of ways you can help those who need it in Yarnell, but be aware that there are scammers out there trying to take advantage of the situation and the generosity of Arizonans.

"Unfortunately, whenever you have a tragedy like this, whether it be one or multiples, there are some bad guys that come out," Phoenix Fire Captain Rich Bauer said Tuesday. "These people, they're like gypsies and they move all over the country. By the time we find out about them, they're gone."

Bauer said people should be leery of phone and email solicitations.

Legitimate opportunities to contribute

"While many [groups] are well-intentioned and helpful, reports of fraudulent fundraising have been rampant this week," reads a news release from the United Phoenix Fire Fighters Association.

If you have a question about making a donation, you can email yarnellfallen@gmail.com.

For public information about the fire progress and status, call 928-427-3347.

 3 On Your Side's Gary Harper contributed to this report.

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