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Rogue Valley volunteers to host second round of 'Free Plants for Fire Survivors'

Donated plants can be seen at the 'Free Plants for Fire Survivors' event in November 2020. (Courtesy: Nicole McDowell)

MEDFORD, Ore. — Eight months after the September 2020 fires that devastated the Rogue Valley, a group of volunteers wants to remind fire survivors they have not been forgotten.

Nicole McDowell, the organizer of “Free Plants for Fire Survivors,” said the group of volunteers came together right after the fires hit.

“It started with a couple of ladies who are very passionate about plants, we got together, and we just felt sadness,” McDowell said. “We know plants are not a necessity, but they are happiness.”

McDowell said the group wanted to give back to their community members who lost everything. She said they tried to volunteer at the Jackson County Expo after the fire but were told they did not need any more volunteers.

She said that is when they began to organize the first ‘Free Plants for Fire Survivors’ event which was held in November 2020.

“We were able to give out roughly 1,500 to 1,700 plants which were donated, and a couple of hundred people showed up,” she said. “I didn’t want to do a one and done, we know it is easy for people to forget especially months later, but we are not forgetting.”

McDowell said the group took into consideration that a lot of the fire survivors remain without a home, or garden to plant in.

“I encourage, you can do vegetables in pots,” McDowell said. “I don’t have big trees to give, but I have little baby trees and you know one day they’ll be big like in my backyard, it’s really just about helping, giving, and growing.”

The group will be giving out free plants, flowers, trees, shrubs, and vegetables to fire survivors on Saturday from noon to 3 p.m.

McDowell noted the group will be setting up at Habitat for Humanity’s parking lot off Highway 99 in Medford.

Donations can be dropped off at the location starting at 11 a.m.