‘Pop-up’ for Nevada County fire victims to close up shop | TheUnion.com

‘Pop-up’ for Nevada County fire victims to close up shop

Susann Grace's two rescue dogs, Mr. Boo and Ruffy McNoodle, get in the Christmas spirit outside the "pop-up" store for fire victims at the Rough and Ready Coutnry Store Friday.

A Rough and Ready "pop-up" that offered clothing and household items free to local fire victims will be closing its doors at the end of the month.

Two months after the McCourtney and Lobo fires, organizer Susann Grace's project is winding down, in part because the former Rough and Ready Country Store, which had housed the pop-up, has sold and is in escrow.

"We'll be out of here on Dec. 22," she said.

The last few days the store will be open, anyone in need can come in, Grace said.

The free store came about because after the fires, Rough and Ready's volunteer fire department was flooded with donated goods from the community. Grace — who fled her own home temporarily during the fire and who helped out during the ensuing week at the animal evacuation center — was determined to keep the donations in town to help local victims.

She credits Rough and Ready Fire Capt. Tim Pettee with contacting the owners of the store; they agreed to allow volunteers to open the space to act as a free store of sorts with clothing, blankets, pet gear and household necessities.

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Grace gathered a "faithful" group of volunteers who came in to help her sort and posted the store's hours on the Grass Valley Peeps Facebook page.

On Friday, two fire victims stopped in to gather warmer clothing, and to thank Grace for her hard work.

"It's been a saving grace," said Tiffanie Ammons, who said she had been wearing the same skirt and flip-flops for days, until she got word about the pop-up. "I feel the utmost gratitude to the community."

"It's the compassion that's most amazing," agreed Michael McCauley.

Grace has promised one last hurrah — Christmas boxes that will include toiletries collected by the Nevada Union High School FFA and donated by Great Clips, baked goods and even a turkey (which are being donated by a relative of Rough and Ready Fire Capt. Matt Wright); one woman brought in teddy bears, because she wanted fire victims to have something to cuddle.

"I have a team coming to stuff the gift boxes," Grace said, adding that donations for those are still being accepted and that she hopes to have them distributed by next Saturday.

Right now, the store is only accepting donations for the gift boxes; Grace has set up a Facebook page, Nevada County Disaster Donations, where donors can post items they want to give away and victims can contact them directly.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at lizk@theunion.com.