From Flames to Donations: Remembering a Christmas Miracle in 1990

From Flames to Donations: Remembering a Christmas Miracle in 1990

These stables of the old Food Bank caught fire five days before Christmas in 1990. Photo credit: Rock Springs Historical Museum

There was a warmth in Rock Springs during the holiday season of 1990. A warmth from a devastating fire and a warmth from the hearts of those in the community who rallied around the charred remains of the Food Bank fire five days before Christmas.

In a report from the Daily Rocket-Miner, a fire broke out early Thursday morning on December 20, 1990, destroying thousands of dollars worth of Christmas gifts and food, which were scheduled to be distributed throughout the community.

Around 250 gift baskets were destroyed after the flames consumed them in the fire, which was started inside the food bank by space heaters that were plugged into cords that couldn’t handle the amount wattage.

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According to the paper, “The residents of Rock Springs immediately began replacing the baskets and other items intended for distribution.”

Linda Williams, who was with the Chamber of Commerce at the time, said that more than $2,300 in cash had been brought in by 3 pm, just several hours after the fire had been put out. According to Williams, one donation from a company had donated the money set aside for its Christmas party. In addition, other businesses had raised $1,000 in gifts, gift certificates for food and a $300 donation along with eight turkeys.

The Women’s Club of Rock Springs also heard about the fire and unanimously approved a check for $1,000. According to a member of the club, all 80-plus members at the time voted for the donation to be made.

After the donations rolled in, the Christmas food baskets and gifts were given out at the Plaza Mall on December 22, just three days before Christmas Day.

A Christmas miracle indeed, the community answered the call for help, leaving the Food Bank nearly speechless, saying that the community’s response had been “overwhelming” in another paper report.