Her children, all 6 of them, lost everything. Toys, clothes, coats, beds, school supplies, video games, shoes.
Renee collected Wizard of Oz memorabilia. She loves that movie. If she was online, she would be reading WoO fanfic. Oz stuff and shoes, Dallas Cowboy stuff. Those were her only *splurges* and she lost most of it. All the shoes, of course. Most of the WoO stuff. All of her highly prized Dallas Cowboy shirts and a very nice jacket that had been a Christmas gift many years ago. Along with, of course, all of her clothes. And her bed. Her dressers.
The next day, I was helping Renee sift through what was impossible to save in the duplex. I took her kitten while her family was put up in a hotel by the Red Cross and I kept telling her that what was important was that she and her kids were safe. I hugged her while she cried and then I came home and wept at the injustice of life.
And then I called lostakasha.
I had just moved two months before this. I had given Renee and her boys everything that I didn't need/want. Furniture, clothes, kitchen appliances. Paring down my life, trying to regain control of my own issues. My son, who had kept EVERY TOY given to him since he was three, gave it all to Renee's younger boys. Tonka trucks. Electric trains. RC cars. A couple Nintendo systems and games.
That was all gone now, as if it never existed. And as much as I wanted to do something, anything to help Renee, I was tapped out.
So ... I proposed a bid-for-fic community to Annie. Wondering if that could help. I talked to my bank and Renee's bank about setting up a separate account just for *this* and finally, simply used Renee's own savings account. Which at the time? Had a whopping $25.00 in it. Just enough to keep it open, because we all have dreams.
In less than two days, lostakasha had created fire_fic and the sister community fire_fiction. I was astounded and thrilled. In a week, Annie had pimped the community all over Live Journal. I was dancing and promised weekly updates. Heh. *facepalm*
In less than two weeks, I was overwhelmed. Completely and totally caught off-guard by the incredible amount of participation that poured in from everywhere. From every fandom. From every corner of the world. Emails like I've never experienced, days where all I could *do* was answer and thank and sit here with tears in my eyes. People putting their name on the community offering web hosting, fiction, knitting, Christmas ornaments, homemade chocolates ... People that wrote to me and asked for Renee's address, sending her everything from boxes of sheets to boxes of clothing to gift cards for everything. Food. Clothes. People who clicked the Pay-Pal button and sent Renee whatever they could afford. Ten dollars. Twenty. Fifteen. Fifty. And so much more.
So many good wishes. So many healing thoughts. So many prayers and cards and notes that every single day brought joy into the life of my friend. A woman that, perhaps, two people on my flist have met in real life.
fire_fic is closed now. The bidding is over. fire_fiction is going strong, new stories almost every day.
Over $3550.00 has been donated through Renee's Pay Pal. Countless amounts have been sent to her via snail mail.
Her life is returning to normal, as much as expected. She's working every day, taking care of her boys. She's laughing more and crying less.
And this is all, in a very large part, because of you.
And to all the people that I missed, everyone that emailed, everyone that sent gifts anonymously ...
I simply cannot say it loud enough, long enough ~
You are the reason this world is beautiful.