On Feb. 4, members of the Idyllwild community helped the Town Crier raise the $12,000 needed to replace the camera equipment stolen from local photographer Jenny Kirchner’s car while on a freelance assignment in Palm Springs. The equipment stolen, in addition to being financially devastating, was also an emotional blow to Kirchner.

Kirchner wrote this letter to the community:
On Dec. 6, 2013, the day before my birthday, my father passed his camera gear over to me as a present. His reasoning: because I am a professional photographer, I deserved to have his professional equipment that he no longer made use of. I remember watching him, in my younger years, working with that same equipment and thinking to myself, “I want to take photos with the big shiny lenses like dad!” The hobby we once shared is the reason I became the photographer that I am today, and will continue to become as the years move forward.

On Jan. 7, my world was turned upside down. My livelihood, tools and memories were stripped from me in the blink of an eye. All of my gear, and my father’s, had been stolen from my car sometime the evening before while I was in Palm Springs. The car was locked, and everything was covered, but this group of individuals had been hitting cars all over the city. I was beyond devastated. I knew the monetary cost of equipment would be in the thousands, never mind the irreplaceable sentimental loss and I broke down in tears as the shock wore off.

As I returned to our little mountain community, I was confronted with the reality of how amazing it is here. Without a second thought, the Town Crier immediately started putting together fliers, a PayPal account and set up buckets in town for donations. A fundraiser was in the works, but as the days moved on the outpouring of support and donations proved so abundant that it wasn’t necessary. It took less than a month and the goal of $12,000 was met, all because of the kindness, generosity and selfless actions of the Town Crier and the community. Even some visiting Idyllwild pitched in some money to the buckets around town after seeing the flier.

There are truly no words that can describe how grateful, thankful and amazed I am because of you. All of you, whether it was $1 or $5,000, every penny has made it possible for me to rebuild my livelihood. I wish I could personally thank each and every one of you, and while I don’t know most of the people who donated, please take these words along with a hug and a smile and know you made a difference in such a big way. I can only hope that I can help others when the need arises, just as you did for me. Again, from the bottom of my heart to all of you, thank you.
Jenny Kirchner