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Dodgers come to the aid of local families

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LOS ANGELES -- When a fire swept through the San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission earlier this month, everything belonging to the 15 families staying there -- which wasn't a lot to begin with -- was lost.

Clothing, blankets, toiletries, supplies -- gone. Trucks that deliver food to needy families in the community -- destroyed.

Thirty residents of the shelter, many of whom are children, were sleeping when the fire broke out. All escaped unhurt, leaving behind nothing but rubble and ashes.

The Dodgers, in conjunction with Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF), stepped in on Wednesday, hosting the families from the mission for the series finale with the Marlins.

During a pregame presentation, several players presented their guests with Dodgers blankets, a gesture inspired by one young boy who identified his blanket as his most prized possession lost in the fire.

The Dodgers and the LADF have organized a mission of their own, and invite fans to donate monetary gifts by visiting dodgers.com/ladf. They also encourage people to drop by Lot 1 at Dodger Stadium on Thursday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. to drop off new or gently worn clothing and shoes, new or used blankets, bedding and towels, toiletries, baby items, and canned and dry food items.

The damage sustained by the mission included the destruction of its emergency shelter, vehicle fleet, clothing warehouse and food pantry, which are vital in aiding those in need in the San Fernando Valley.

In other words, they have to start over, completely from scratch.

During an on-field interview, a spokesperson from the shelter expressed appreciation for the outpouring of support from the community and from the Dodgers but stressed that the work is far from over -- another $2.5 million is needed to continue, and complete, the rebuilding.

Earl Bloom is a contributor to MLB.com. Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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