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Relief and Support Day helps residents recover after Bridger Foothills Fire

Posted at 10:53 AM, Sep 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-10 12:53:15-04

Organizations from across the Gallatin Valley gathered at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds to help residents affected by the Bridger Foothills Fire get connected with resources.

From clothing to hygiene products, to emotional support dogs, the Relief and Support Day event was there to help lift residents up after a natural disaster.

“What’s happening in the building is community building in its best form,” said Bonnie Sachatello Sawyer, Executive Director with Hopa Mountain.

“Groups have come to set up tables, they’re distributing supplies. They’re making sure folks feel supported as they rebuild their lives after the fires.”

Vendors were there to let residents know they were there for the long haul, especially when it comes to processing trauma and seeking mental health during such a vulnerable time.

“We have an Urgent Care that is a partnership with Bozeman Health and the Help Center here in Gallatin County. And as a result, people can access mental health needs immediately,” said Michael Foust with the Western Montana Mental Health Center.

Gallatin County Emergency Management says the outpouring of support from the community has been huge.

“We’re honestly overwhelmed by the physical donations that we received. We have clothing here to last months upon months,” said Kevin Larsen, Operations Manager with Gallatin County Emergency Management.

Now it’s just about making sure residents feel comfortable with all the support.

“We’re concerned that people are too prideful to come here and accept help. The thing I want to emphasize is, it’s not a handout, it’s a hand up,” said Larsen.