North Tacoma grocery store raises money for fire victims in California

TACOMA, Wash. - - A grocery store owner in North Tacoma is stepping up to help some grocery store employees in California who’ve lost everything in the deadliest fire of the Western region.

Customers at Grocery Outlet in North Tacoma are donating money to help 37 Grocery Outlet employees in Paradise, Calif., who’ve lost their jobs and homes in the devastating fires. About $850 has already been raised since donations began on Tuesday.

“I think that everybody needs to pitch in when things like this happen in America,” said customer Greg Osterloh.

Lyn Lowe owns the Grocery Outlet in North Tacoma on 6th Avenue. She says the store in Paradise is owned by a couple who once operated a Grocery Outlet in Kent.

“When our family in Paradise is devastated, we hurt too," Lowe said. "I’m sorry. It affects you and you feel for them. It’s like what can we do to help them. We have the most amazing customers here and they want to help too.”

Dozens of people in two major California fires have died and county officials there say at least 130 more people are still missing, most of them from Paradise. Lowe says the owners and the employees need money to help restart their lives.

“A new blanket is great, but where are you going to put all that stuff?" she said. "They have no place to put anything, so what is really important right now is cash.”

Lowe says every dollar will go directly to the fire victims and will be distributed by the Touching Lives Foundation, an organization that serves Grocery Outlet employees during tragic times.

“It brings peace to our hearts to know that we can have some kind of affect on helping these people move forward with their lives," she said.

You don't have to be a Grocery Outlet customer to donate. Anyone can send money to the store on 6th Avenue and cashiers will be ready to collect money for fire victims at the register.

Grocery Outlet in North Tacoma says they’ll collect donations until the families in Paradise can get back on their feet.