forestry crab feed

A helping hand from Forestry Crab Feed — Debee Matteoli and Suzie Blankenship, retired CalFire employees who were diagnosed with breast cancer, hold the $20,000 check that was donated to Sutter Health Cancer Support Services in November 2020. On far left, CalFire Unit Chief Shana Jones, on far right CalFire Division Chief Ben Nichols.

While the annual Forestry Crab Feed fundraiser and raffle is canceled this year due to COVID-19, you can still donate to the organization, which aims to raise funds for local nonprofits and for CalFire firefighters who’ve lost their homes or were injured in recent wildland fires.

“This year we’re not doing one because of coronavirus. We played with the idea of having a drive-thru crab feed because it’s our 60th and it’s kind of a big year… (But) usually it takes about 40 of us to crack all of the crab and cook and prepare the crab and we wouldn’t have been able to have a group of that many people together, so we held off this year,” said Kim Thompson, Forestry Crab Feed Incident Commander.

The feed is usually a popular event and serves two different types of crab and typically has music, dancing and raffles.

He said they will hold the fundraiser next year, but in the meantime,  they’re asking regular crab feed participants and locals for donations.

“If they wanted to donate some money to the two programs, we would gladly accept it,” Thompson said.  

He said folks can either donate to the Forestry Crab Feed fund, which puts funds toward local nonprofits, or they can donate to the Forestry Crab Feed’s firefighter relief fund.

“That’s for our employees who have a catastrophic loss like a house, or we’ve had firefighters burn and they have to go to the burn center and we put their families up in hotels or motels and pay for the gas to try to help them out a little bit,” Thompson said.

Those who would like to donate can send their contribution to Forestry Crab Feed, PO Box 265, Fulton, CA, 95439.

Last year’s crab feed raised thousands of dollars and over $40,000 was donated to various North Bay charities and nonprofits including local food banks, college scholarship programs, Toys for Tots, women’s shelters and firefighter relief.

In November of 2020 the organization donated $20,000 to Sutter Health Cancer Support Services after two CalFire retirees Debee Matteoli and Suzie Blankenship were diagnosed with breast cancer prior to the February 2020 crab feed.

“Sutter Health has a program that’s not just for Sutter patients, it’s also for any cancer patient, that (has) various mental health programs, food programs, group therapy programs, car rides, all of these different programs to help cancer patients,” Thompson said. 

The Forestry Crab Feed was started in 1961 by Sonoma Ranger Unit employees Fire Captains Harold Rose, Chuck Menne and Alan Gradek along with many of their co-workers. 

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