TAHOKA, Texas — Todd Lockaby and Quinton Whitfield know the pain Central Texans are feeling all too well.
Five years ago, it was their fields left burned and barren, and their families left with nothing.
“I have family in the Panhandle that lost whole ranches,” Mr. Lockaby, owner of Lockaby farms, said. “If it wasn’t for the kindness of strangers, it would have been a hard thing for them, still.”
Many of those strangers came from the Eastland County regions to donate hay, farm supplies, and money. Now, they are battling their own devastation left by the largest wildfire in Texas history.
“They were the ones giving then,” Quinton Whitfield, a local farmer organizing donation efforts, said. “They sent money, they sent feed – everything that is going on right now for them, they did the same thing back when the Panhandle was on fire. So it’s Texans giving back to Texans, is the best way I can put it.”
Quinton said he was bothered by the thought of the wildfires while feeding his animals and tending to his fields this week – daily activities that the farmers with burnt fields can no longer do. So he took to Facebook, asking his followers a humble request: “Give where you can and when you can, because that’s just what you do.”
He offered to round up some of extra bales of hay from his High Winds Hay and Transport and match donations up to $2,000. The support that came from that offer exceeded his expectations.
The combined efforts of South Plains farmers have now collected more than 15 truckloads of hay bales, and Whitfield’s Texas Fire Relief Fund has raised more than $15,000 in just three days.
“The [agricultural] community is pretty proud. A lot of them won’t ask for nothing, so the rest of us have to take care of them when they’re in need,” Whitfield said.
The most highly-sought items now include hay to feed livestock, farm equipment, protein tubs, fencing materials, and medical supplies.
Whitfield directed the public to donate to the Texas Fire Relief Fund by visiting any Happy State Bank location and requesting to deposit into the account, mentioning the contact name “Quinton Whitfield.”
HF&C Feed Store on 82nd Street in Lubbock is also raising money for the High Cotton Relief Fund, directed by country star William Clark Green.
Whitfield also directed people to Cook’s Garage to donate money and items such as water, clothing, and non-perishable food.
“This is what we’re called to do, so we’re just answering a call,” Mr. Lockaby said. “This is the tools we have in our toolbox… if somebody has something they can do… between that and prayer, these people can see their way through this.”