9-Year-Old Loses Everything In California Wildfires, So The Oakland A’s Did THIS

The wildfires that have devastated much of Northern California burnt 9-year-old Loren’s Smith’s home to the ground, but the Oakland A’s and other major league teams are pitching in to help him and his family rebuild their lives.

A family loses everything in wildfire

On October 8, Tait Smith, Loren’s father, was on the roof of their Santa Rosa home with a garden hose in a vain effort to fight off the flames that ultimately devoured hundreds of homes in the area while displacing more than 20,000 residents.

Tait was lucky. He managed to escape, along with his wife, kids and cats. But their property was completely consumed and the family lost everything, including Loren’s prized baseball memorabilia collection.

A 9-year-old’s letter sparks heartwarming response

Since being evacuated, the Tait family has experienced a journey that’s taken them from heartbreak to the heartwarming support they’ve received from some of Loren’s idols. It all started when the 9-year-old wrote a letter to the Oakland Athletics explaining how his family had lost their home and all their possessions (including Loren’s baseball cards).

The handwritten note, which you can see for yourself (below), was picked up by a local TV station and soon when viral on social media.

Not long thereafter, the Oakland A’s president, David Kaval, saw a picture of the letter on Twitter, which prompted him to think about what he could do to help.

As Kaval told reporters, “It hits you like a ton of bricks because you know the family’s going through so much. I thought the least we could do is obviously outfit the family and get them new A’s gear, and that response I think just kicked off a whole groundswell of support.”

Before long, players from the Oakland A’s and at least 14 other major league teams were donating jerseys, bats and other items to help Loren and other victims of the wildfires replace lost memorabilia. But that’s just the beginning of the relief efforts. The A’s and six other Bay Area sports teams are committing at least $450,000 to help victims of the wildfires recover.

Tait Smith says he has a feeling of “overwhelming gratitude” towards the organizations that are helping his family and other victims. As he explained, “It’s been pretty unbelievable. Somebody said (Loren’s letter) made it to a news station and they read the letter and it went from there… We’re just very, very, very thankful.”

From heartbreak to hope

By the way, you can see from this video (below) that Loren may have a bright career ahead as a sportscaster.

If you’d like to donate sports memorabilia to the Smiths and other Northern California wildfire victims, then please e-mail community@athletics.com. To help the Smiths or learn more about their story, visit the family’s fundraising page.

— Scott O’Reilly

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