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Chico Boy Helps Animal Disaster Group

6th grader Midnight Allen's set out to raise money to help NVADG volunteers as they rescue animals left behind during wildfire and disaster evacuations.

Posted: Sep 6, 2018 3:47 AM
Updated: Sep 6, 2018 6:55 AM

Chico, Calif.-- Like many 6th graders, Midnight Allen just loves animals.

"My little tiny dog - I love her - and to see little dogs and cats in cages and on chains, it breaks my heart. So, I really feel inclined to help them," said Allen.

One of his family friends is a volunteer with NVADG, the North Valley Animal Disaster Group of volunteers that go beyond fire lines to rescue animals left behind. The group was started in 2002 by now president and former Chico Firefighter John Maretti.

"People weren't able to get back to their homes after we set up the roadblocks, so we waned to make sure people would be able to get their animals," said NVADG President John Maretti.

During the 2008 Humboldt Fire, NVADG rescued more than 3,000 animals left behind during evacuations.

And while there have not been any significant wildfires in Butte County so far this year, the group's been helping out to the North and West.

"We've become a mutual aid as well. For the Carr Fire we sent over 75 volunteers, 1,500 hours we worked, we sent 400 animals crates up there, we worked for a week," said Maretti.

Midnight's too young to be a volunteer, but he wanted to do something. So, beginning last Summer during the Wall and Cherokee Fires, he set out to raise money through his grandmother's salon in Chico.

The idea was simple.

"This box was the thing she got me to use, so I got some stickers, pasted them on," said Allen. "It's been easy to get people here who come in to support it, they're all loving and caring people."

And it took off.

"Wow.. that's a lot of money, that's awesome," said Maretti, as the boy handed over about another hundred dollars collected this Summer.

"The first letter I got when I was told how much money I made, I was kind of blown back a little bit," said Allen.

"We spent so much money with fuel, crates this year, so every little bit helps, and this isn't just a little bit, he's actually done a pretty good job!" said Maretti.

Midnight's handed over more than $200 dollars to the group.. And he's not stopping there.

"If I can improve it, I will. If I can't, it's staying out here until the day it can't stay here anymore," said Allen.

If you want to help out, the donation box is at Mateo & Co. salon in Chico.

NVADG needs more volunteers, click here if you're interested in more information.

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Several inches of rain along with multiple feet of snow will fall Tuesday through Friday with the biggest winter storm so far this season. A widespread hard freeze will be seen in the valley Monday night.
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