By Jackie Ward

SANTA ROSA (KPIX 5) — Even though thousands of evacuees are back in their homes in Sonoma County, many still need help getting their feet back on the ground. And that includes stocking the fridge up.

To say it has been a rough week for David McCloud would be an understatement.

“I have a two-year-old daughter and we didn’t want the smoke getting to her, you know?” said McCloud.

All week, he has been trying to escape the smoke, seeking shelter in multiple places to keep his family safe.

“I’m very thankful for what they did for us at the fairgrounds and what they’re doing for us now, because we have nothing,” explained McCloud.

But thanks to people like Maryanne Harris and others who donated and volunteered at a food drive at the Finley Community Center in Santa Rosa, now he has a way to provide his family with a much needed meal.

Harris was an evacuee herself. McCloud and many other returning evacuees were picking up free food to restock their cupboards and refrigerators.

“Oh, it’s crazy. But we’re all fortunate because those guys did such a great job, said Harris. Saved us all.”

At Cal Fire’s Thursday morning incident update meeting, they reminded tired firefighters that have helped save thousands of lives.

“The people are our number one priority always. Property comes second and the environment comes third,” said Kincade Fire PIO and San Jose Fire Captain Mitch Matlow. “So for us to put 180,000 people back in their homes, that makes us feel really good and warm and fuzzy.”

But now is not the time for these first responders to let their guard down.

Even with the winds calming down, the threat of this fire making fast down canyon runs remains as dry conditions continue.

People can pick donations up at the Finley Community Center until 5 p.m. Thursday afternoon.