Wildfires are still burning their way through Northern California, ruining homes and upending the lives of countless residents. But, as is always the case during such dark times, heartwarming stories emerge. Like that of the Internet rallying around a 9-year-old who lost his entire baseball collection.
A huge Oakland Athletics fan, Loren Jade Smith tragically lost his entire collection of baseball memorabilia when his home burned in Santa Rosa. Loren penned a letter to the Oakland A’s explaining the loss of his cherished collection, which included baseball cards, 17 jerseys, 10 hats, and a ball signed by the whole team.
Here’s Loren’s letter, published by Katie Utehs of ABC 7 on Saturday:
— Katie Utehs (@KatieUtehs) October 15, 2017
When the letter went public, the Internet sprang into action working to replace Loren’s memorabilia.
“I have some A’s bobble heads I would love to give this kid,” a fan immediately tweeted. “I have as many A’s baseball cards as he can handle, where can I send them?” another replied. The community response was massive, and dozens and dozens of fans chimed in to support Loren with this kind gesture in a tough time. The efforts even caught the eye of Oakland A’s president Dave Kaval, who offered to set Loren and his family up with brand new gear.
— Dave Kaval (@DaveKaval) October 15, 2017
Other prominent figures that have jumped in to help in the three short days since the letter went viral include ex-A’s pitcher Dan Haren and Eireann Dolan, the wife of ex-A’s closer Sean Doolittle. Other MLB teams offered support, too, including the Tampa Bay Rays and the Colorado Rockies. So many fans reached out that the Oakland A’s set up a place where anyone can donate memorabilia to Loren:
If you'd like to donate baseball memorabilia to our pal Loren, please send items to the address below and we’ll make sure they get to him. pic.twitter.com/xI3ZwWWfNA
— Oakland Athletics
It’s incredibly heartwarming to see so much generosity shown to this young fan during a difficult period. As the fires in NorCal continue to burn, tragically, there are likely to be many similar stories of lost belongings. Thus far, the fires have claimed nearly 50 lives. In addition, more than 30 school districts have been temporarily closed and many schools have been destroyed. As families return to their hometowns, such acts of support and generosity will certainly go a long way.