Thursday, January 6, 2011

Why the Burnout Fund matters

As you might now if you've been reading this blog for a while, the Boise Burnout Fund and the Light My Fire organizations are very dear to me.  It's getting to be that time again for the annual Light My Fire fundraiser, and I thought it would be a great time for me to share why the Burnout Fund matters and why I believe so much in supporting this cause.

Every year there are between 370,000 and 400,000 house fires across the United States.  Depending on your perspective that may seem like a huge number, or a relatively inconsequential number.  Regardless, when you multiply that number over a decade, assuming that most people don't lose their homes more than once in that time span, we're talking about four million people.  I think we can all agree four million people is a lot of people.  Even so, I never thought I'd be one of them.  But I am.

August 25, 2008, changed my life, and even if I can recognize the good that's come from an incredibly horrible situation, that doesn't mean I wouldn't undo it if I could.  I learned that night what it's like to not have anything.  No underwear, no toothbrush, no pillow.  I had the generosity of a friend who provided shelter and interim supplies.  And I had insurance, which would allow me to eventually replace those things. 

Once we moved into the hotel, we didn't have cooking supplies.  No can opener to open food.  No pots and pans to cook.  No food in the refrigerator.  Our insurance policy provided for some meals, but we still had to take care of one or two meals a day, which for over a week consisted of easy to eat or takeout food.

The Burnout Fund is not a replacement for insurance.  It cannot possibly cover all of the expenses after a fire.  But it does cover an important gap between losing your house and the time insurance does finally kick in and you're back up on your feet.  It also helps cover some of the costs of things that just aren't covered by insurance, like the constant eating out, the extra fuel used by driving to and from everywhere.  It allowed us to buy buckets and shovels and masks for those coming to help us sort through the ash.  I bought a pillow so that I could get some sleep given that I was eight months pregnant.

In some ways we were lucky that our fire was so high-profile.  The community outpouring was unbelievable.  But fires happen year-round, and I know that the assistance given to other families is far less than what was shown for us.  It's why I believe so much in giving back to it in every way that I can.

If you live in Boise, I encourage you to help support this cause, hoping that you will never have to be a beneficiary but knowing if you needed it, it would be there.  There are several ways to help:

1) Attend the Light My Fire event.  Details are at Light My Fire.  It's a silent auction complete with a great dessert auction.  Every year they've auctioned off a really cool painted fire hydrant.  Last year they had a puppy.

2) Donate.  If you can't attend the fundraiser, please consider donating to this great organization, whether the Boise Burnout Fund or Light My Fire, which donates to the Burnout Fund and also provides fire prevention education.

3) Provide items for the silent auction.  One of the most important aspects of the fundraiser is the silent auction.  Do you have a talent you could provide?  Does your company have a service it could donate?  Are you a good baker and can donate a dessert for the dessert auction?

If you aren't in Boise but are interested in donating items for the auction, I'd be more than happy to facilitate that.  Also, I encourage you to look into your own local organizations that provide fire assistance.  I'm sure they'd be happy to have your help, whether financial or time.

I can't wait to post pictures from this year's event!

Last year's fundraiser:

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