Volunteers, community groups rally to help each other after quake disrupts life in Chugiak-Eagle River

Wednesday, January 9, 2019 - 07:13
  • Members of the Chugiak High wrestling team joined students and staff to help clean up the Eagle River Christian School after last week's earthquake. (Photo courtesy of Cheryl Clay)

Community groups are rallying together to help Chugiak-Eagle River regroup and recover from last week’s magnitude 7.0 earthquake.

The local Lions Club has stepped up to help the Boys and Girls Club, sports teams have pitched in to help local schools and all around town countless volunteers have aided recovery efforts wherever they’re needed.

“They’ve been wonderful, they’re very gracious,” said Boys and Girls Club program coordinator Josh Morrisett from the Eagle River Lions Club, which is temporarily hosting the Boys and Girls Club until the club’s building in downtown Eagle River is fixed.

Morrisett said club members have been able to use the space at the corner of Eagle River Loop and Eagle River Road for activities ranging from karaoke to making Christmas ornaments.

“They have a nice space to host us,” he said.

In a press release, the Lions Club said helping the Boys and Girls Club is in keeping with the group’s mission of community service.

“The children of Eagle River again have a safe place to congregate and enjoy their unexpected time off from school,” the club wrote.

Lions have also offered their help getting the Boys and Girls Club ready to reopen as soon as possible.

The help comes on the heels of a $12,000 donation to the Boys and Girls Club from Credit Union 1, which held its annual silent auction the day before the quake to benefit the club.

Morrisett said there have been about 50 to 60 kids at the club each day since it moved to the Lions Club. And they’ve signed up a half-dozen new members, too.

The Lions Club will be open for normal Boys and Girls Club hours through next week or until the Boys and Girls Clubhouse is back up and running, Morrisett said. Anyone with questions can call him at 862-1258 or club director Tracy Hupe at 360-2627.

Cooperative efforts around town have ranged to people helping their neighbors pick up debris to getting schools ready to reopen. Earlier this week, the Chugiak High School wrestling team pitched in at Eagle River Christian School, which was able to open for classes by Wednesday.

“They blessed our socks off,” wrote the school’s Cheryl Clay in an email.

People wanting to help volunteer at other local schools have a wealth of options to choose from, with clean-up efforts ongoing at nearly every area school. Volunteers can check individual school Facebook pages or go to the Anchorage School District’s website for more information about how to volunteer.

There are plenty of ways folks can continue helping out, from online fundraising drives to food drives to fundraisers set up by local businesses.

On Saturday, the Chugiak-Eagle River Food Pantry will hold a Food and Dishes Drive for residents of the Coronado Park Senior Village. The drive will be held at the housing development located at 16820 from 10 a.m. until noon and the pantry is asking for non-perishable food items and dishes in good condition.

Resources are also being made available to help those impacted by the earthquake. The Foraker Group has created a helpful page that includes links for a number of resources for those affected.

Chugiak-Eagle River did get some good news this week with the announcement that the annual Winter Wonderland celebration is back on. The event will be held on Friday, Dec. 14 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. and will include a Christmas tree lighting and visit from Santa.

Got a tip about a community fundraiser or earthquake-related volunteer opportunities? Email [email protected].

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