During September 2020, the Creek Fire erupted in Reese's community located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains east of Fresno, California. During the rush to evacuate, Reese's beloved baseball card collection was left behind. Unfortunately, Reese's home, along with over 500 others, was lost to the fire. The Creek Fire burned for over two months, and would eventually become the single largest fire in California history.
When local first responders learned of Reese's loss, they sprang into action. Reese's community responded. A local minor league baseball organization, the Fresno Grizzlies, jumped on board. Local card collectors put out the call. Reese's story even gained the attention of the San Francisco Giants.
Reese was thrust into the spotlight. She was the first to remind everyone that there are far too many children that are going through difficult and life-changing events. As cards starting coming in, she quickly began sharing them with her friends and teammates that also lost their homes. Especially the Dodgers cards, which is not her favorite team. But she dug deep and found the strength to cheer for them during the World Series. "It's OK to cheer for them, Mom, because [my friends] really like them and I want them to win so they'll be happy."
The cards flooded in. First from the local community, then from the Bay Area, then from across the US. The Fresno Grizzlies faithful filled a truckload. We asked for cards. You sent COLLECTIONS. Thousands upon thousands of cards came in. Baseball cards, basketball, hockey, football... even golf!
The best part? The letters. Notes of encouragement from those who sent the cards. Stories from strangers with a love for the game. Some with tales of where the cards came from, all with heartfelt messages of love.
The cards provided a distraction from the destruction that surrounded Reese and her community. The notes showed her the love, hope, and peace that can be shared through a simple gesture.
It quickly became apparent the response far exceeded the need. Reese's collection, and that of her teammates and classmates has been taken care of. Every kid affected by the Creek Fire will have a collection because of the generosity of you all. Thank you!
But Reese isn't done. She wants to do more. She knows first hand of the simple power of a card. How a quick note of encouragement and love can lift the spirits of someone going through a struggle. So Reese has pledged to pay it forward, to lift other children up just as others have lifted her up.
She wants to send cards and notes of encouragement to other children, especially to those at nearby Children's Hospital of Central California. When Reese was a patient at the hospital, sidelined by a very serious health condition in 2017, notes of encouragement from friends and family gave her strength as she battled back to health.
Reese wants to send cards to other kids, and once she has her homework done, she will be getting to work. She also wants to share her favorite bible verse, Phillipians 4:13, "I can do all things through Him who gives me strength."