Palm Desert woman learns from fire survival

Joni Mitchell pushes clothing donations for Colo. Wildfire victims

Clothing drive for Colorado fire victims

PALM DESERT, Calif. - The Waldo Canyon Wildfire in Colorado Springs is now 70-percent contained tonight.

Most of the evacuations have been lifted, with the exception of those closest to the neighborhood, where more than 300 homes were destroyed.

The images of the fire and the damage are bringing back memories for a PalmDesert woman, who lost everything in a fire, back in the early 70's.

Now, she's starting a clothing drive for Colorado fire victims and she needs your help, to make it happen.

Joni Mitchell says, "I was basically mesmerized, watching it and then I cried, because I felt what they were going through, having been through it once myself."

Mitchell and her late husband owned the Snug Harbor Supper Club, on Clam Lake, in Wisconsin, for about a year.

Away on Christmas vacation, they learned the restaurant and attached home had burned to the ground, in an electrical fire.

Mitchell says, "I hadn't thought about it in a long time, until I saw the Colorado fires and looked at the faces."

Remembering what it felt like to have to look for a new job and send her kids back to school, with basically the clothing on their back, she came up with an idea.

She says, "That we could gather enough clothes, hopefully a semi-load that we can distribute in Colorado to the families that are burned out."

She's not looking for trash bags filled with clothes, but complete outfits, cleaned, pressed and ready-to wear.

Mitchell says, "Because a lot of these people will not have washing or ironing facilities available."

She's willing to collect clothing over the next 2-3 weeks and travel to Colorado.

In the meantime, she's looking for a drop-off location and any help she can get to make the special delivery and a difference, one outfit at a time.

Mitchell says, "I would feel that I was paying back for all the good years I've had since that fire."

If you have clothing you'd like to donate -- or would like to help Joni with the clothing drive, you can e-mail her at joni@gboylan.com.

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