GILMAN -- What started as a small, local effort in the town of Gilman to help farmers several states away has become a multi-state effort.

Gilman farmer Pattie Bixby says she learned of the devastation caused by wildfires earlier this month in Ashland, Kansas  and wanted to help. She began working with the Gilman Co-op Creamery to gather hay bales to ship to farmers there.

Photo courtesy of Jaci Talberg

It has grown into well over 100 volunteers and businesses to get relief supplies to Kansas farmers who have lost their homes, cattle, equipment and grazing pastures.

Bixby says convoys of supplies are now leaving daily from all parts of the midwest and she says those who deliver the goods are hearing the horror stories, and providing support for the fire victims.

Our people do direct drops at farmers' properties, and then we ask our drivers and volunteers to just sit with these farmers and let them tell their story while giving them some hope.  They're saying that is the most incredible experience...just sit with these people and just talk with them or bring them laughter or bring them compassion.

Bixby says the wildfires, fanned by strong winds, destroyed an estimated 725,000 acres of land in Ashland alone. She credits all of the volunteers and businesses who have stepped up to help.

This is Kansas' Katrina!

There will be a hamburger buffet fundraiser at Henry's Catering in Foley Sunday, April 23rd from 11:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m. Speakers, presenters and a silent auction will be offered.

Cash donations can also be made at the Falcon National Bank in Foley. The address is 183 Cedar Avenue, Foley, MN 56329. Make checks payable to "Minnesota Love".

If you are a business or a volunteer who would like to help, you can contact Bixby at (320) 515-9656.

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