CARBON, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The community of Carbon is slowly but actively returning to some sense of ‘normal,’ since the start of the Kidd Fire on St. Patrick’s Day – which quickly turned into the Eastland Complex. That small sense of normalcy is all thanks to those who donated goods and volunteered to do the hard labor.

The small town is usually quiet, but along Main Street Thursday, near the Carbon Volunteer Fire Department (Carbon VFD), many people were out volunteering, dropping off donations, or grabbing a bite to eat in between their volunteer shifts.

Across the state and beyond, people have been donating goods and time to everyone caught in the path of destruction from the Eastland Complex fires.

Between stacking dog food and organizing other donations, one volunteer told KTAB/KRBC she was incredibly thankful for the efforts and donations from everyone all over the Big Country. She said one Abilene man gathered monetary donations and bought around $6,000 worth of much-needed gear for them.

This volunteer said most of their food needs are covered, but they still need gear to help clean up debris. Things still needed include:

  • Heavy duty trash bags
  • Shovels
  • Large trash bins
  • Other cleaning items

Just up the street from the Carbon VFD, Kayley Gosnell, a volunteer helping those in need and organizing donations, said they’ve been fortunate in gathering more than enough things and their donation spot will be open as long as there is a need for it.

“We have people coming in and having no idea what they even need,” Gosnell explained. “We’re filling boxes for them and saying, ‘you’re going to need toothpaste, hairbrushes’… And all of it’s free. We say, ‘whatever you need, come and get it!’”

Gosnell said while they have plenty of donated clothes, they are expecting a load of brand-new clothing donations from a local western store.

“I feel like people who lost everything would like to put on some new clothes and get started again… Kind of start fresh,” Gosnell bargained.

While KTAB/KRBC spoke with Gosnell, she dropped everything to help people in need. She went above and beyond their short lists of basic and immediate needs, asking if they needed more things like toilet paper, toothbrushes, towels and more.

Everything at this donation spot is up for grabs, in a storage building in the 300 block of Main Street. If they wind up with too many donations and nobody else in Eastland County needs anything, Gosnell said they will likely donate those overseas.

About two blocks up, Quinton Whitfield was dropping off donated bales of hay for local farmers and ranchers, through a program called the High Cotton Relief Fund.

“If somebody’s going to call to find a truck, or we need to move some hay or move a tractor, we’ll do whatever we can,” Whitfield said.

With more than 70,000 acres burned across Eastland County, and at least 140 structures lost, farmers have been hurting a lot in the week since the Eastland Complex began. Returning a 2017 favor, farmers from Texas’ Panhandle donated and delivered hay for the animals and fuel for the fire trucks as crews continue to battle the Eastland Complex.

“It’s coming back around, honestly, and it’s Texans helping Texans. And that’s just what you do for each other,” Whitfield added with hope.

To donate to the High Cotton Relief Fund, which is the organization Whitfield is coordinating with as he helps Eastland farmers get back to normal, click here.