100% of funds will go directly to Big Creek School students, staff and community.
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Toby Wait is part of the Fresno Unified Family. Toby and his wife Stephanie, served as teachers and administrators in Fresno Unified and in Hanford before moving up to Big Creek. TeamWait has always supported students and families they coached, taught and lead. Now it's our turn to give back and show them how much we care and appreciate their leadership.
On September 5th, 2020 the unthinkable happened. Residents of Big Creek were awakened at 4am to evacuation orders. They only packed up a few things, as they thought they would be back to their homes the next day. Unfortunately, the Creek Fire had other plans. The community watched as the fire changed courses back and forth, then decided to envelop the town. Firefighters did all they could and two incredibly brave fathers stayed back to protect their town as long as possible. Ultimately, the devastation is surreal. The streets lined with beautiful homes and draping full trees are now replaced with cars burnt to the frame and a blanket of ash. Evidence of the family homes only visible by standing brick chimneys.
For those who have had the chance to visit Big Creek, they immediately realize it is a place like no other. Nestled down in a canyon is a very unassuming 55 student K-8 elementary school, church, post office, and recently re-opened general store. Kids ride their scooters and wave “hi,” back-dropped by the beautiful landscape of trees and cliff faces. It feels like a step back in time, to when things were simpler and kids could roam around neighborhoods and just enjoy their childhood. At Big Creek, there is always time to stop and chat, someone to help you out, or lend a jar of home-made jam. Living in this little town is a community of strength and beauty that is only paralleled by the beauty of the surrounding mountains.
This could be a story of incredible loss and devastation. But the community is instead writing a story of unfaltering strength and resilience. The residents are determined to rebuild and recreate their community. Big Creek is the people not the structures.
Big Creek is beyond grateful for the overflowing support and love. For those wishing to help rebuild and support the families that have lost their homes, we have created this page. Again, a heartfelt thank you to all who have reached out and continue to keep Big Creek in your heart.