SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, Calif. (KION) The CZU Lightning Complex Fire forced schools in the Santa Cruz mountains to close their doors.
"We were really worried about kids not having access to the books that they would want," said Casey Coonerty Protti, owner of Bookshop Santa Cruz.
Coonerty Protti and her staff began brainstorming about what they could do to help. "We realized there was such a great need for kids who lost their homes, libraries and books of comfort," said Coonerty Protti.
The shop started a fundraiser called "Keep Kids Reading." Their team has raised over $9,000 to provide books for kids who are out of school, were evacuated or lost their home in the wildfire.
"I think reading is a comfort for kids. It's the familiarity of those beloved books. It really allows them to feel safe," said Coonerty Protti.
Some of the shop's donations have already been put to good use. Coonerty Protti delivered nearly a dozen books to Bonny Doon Elementary teachers who found a way to still read them to their students.
"We basically just wanted to create a space that they could see some of our faces and hear some of our voices," said Bonny Doon kindergarten teacher, Kristie Summerrill.
Bonny Doon Union Elementary School District created a website to do just that. Teachers recorded themselves reading a variety of books that students can watch.
Summerill said the books have brought the school together even when they have to stay apart. "We have all of our fingers and toes crossed that this will bring some sort of comfort for families and kids wherever they are," said Summerrill.