SANTA ROSA (KRON) — Joe Donelan was giving money away on Tuesday.
The Santa Rosa vintner couldn’t help but be affected by the fires that destroyed the Coffey Park neighborhood just steps away from his family winery.
“Four hundred yards away, neighborhoods were totally devastated,” Donelan said.
The family’s most important vineyard near Calistoga was decimated.
“It’s going to be another five or six years before we have grapes up there,” Donelan said.
But the Donelan family could not stand by as they drove past the burnt out homes of their neighbors, and for half the month of October, they set aside 30 percent of their mail order and tasting room business to contribute to the United Way and the Sonoma County Resilience fund.
The winery’s local effort made the donation all the more important.
“They’re right here in the community, so they know what it’s like to be affected by the fires,” said Rusty Smith, who is the vice president of resource development and marketing at United Way of the wine country.
“This is a local winery, a local family saying, ‘We’re going to do everything to give back and that is significant in its intent,'” Vice President for Programs of the Sonoma County Resilience Fund Karin Demarest said.
Donelan hopes the family’s donation will serve encouragement.
“To rebuild a town, a city is based on small steps,” Donelan said. “Hopefully are small step will encourage other people to come forward.”
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