Back to back disasters, fires and rains have left mountain communities like Idyllwild devastated .
“It has caused a hardship for this town, like I‘ve never seen before,” says Julia Ledesma with the non profit, The Idyllwild Help Center, that provides food and aid to those in need says the road closures have created a catastrophe for locals.
“It’s so critical, I can’t begin to tell you we’re worried about these four months that they’ve extended the roads being closed I don’t know how we’re going to help the six, seven hundred people that we have to help,” she says holding back tears.
And the tourism they rely on, is way down. They’re open for business, and there are several routes up the mountain open, but parking lots sit empty, businesses are cutting hours and laying off workers.
“People are losing their jobs, we’ve had a business across the street, you saw Crazy Train, just went out of business due to the roads being closed,” she says.
Preston Sharp, who lives in Idyllwild and volunteers at the Help Center says no one outside of the community seems to know the extent of the devastation, he says it’s so bad, disaster relief should be provided, “Because it’s a small disaster it doesn’t take a large impact of a natural disaster to affect this whole community … everything is suffering up here and it’s amazing that we’re really not getting the kind of help we need.”
More people than ever are relying on the local food bank that is nearly empty again, “It’s heartbreaking,” says Ledesma as she breaks down in tears.
They hope their desert neighbors take the road less traveled, which is a beautiful drive up, and free of road closures, to answer their call for help.
“It’s been tough, it’s been a really tough road for all of us, and so here we are the helpers asking for help.”
To donate online click here: Idyllwild Help Center