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A California woman who lost her home to a wildfire when she was just eight years old now runs a nonprofit to help kids like her. The Angora Fire destroyed Ashlee Smith’s family home in 2007 and she founded Ashee’s Toy Closet to bring joy and support to other children who experience hardships because of wildfires and natural disasters.
Ashlee’s mom, Erika Smith, says when their family lost everything, toys weren’t on her mind. “I honestly as a parent didn’t think about that,” she admits. “I thought about ‘We need shelter. We need food. I need to know where I’m going to put them to bed tonight,’ but I didn’t think about toys. But they’re so important!”
So Ashley has made it her nonprofit’s mission to think about the toys. Ashlee’s Toy Closet just delivered nearly 20-thousand toys to children affected by the Caldor Fire. The toy giveaway gave these young wildfire victims a chance to shop for a new toy and even better? Something to smile about.