The Middletown Senior Center on the main drag of Highway 29 through town has become a hub of activity in the community ravaged by the Valley fire as people begin to return to Lake County and take first steps to begin rebuilding their lives.

Several dozen agencies have set up shop at the center to provide residents with a place to acquire new driver’s licenses, file insurance claims, report destroyed vehicles now out of operation, print documents, get a meal or medication and access many other services.

Tim Runion, a San Joaquin County emergency services employee brought to Lake County to help run the center, said that they’ve served about 500 people since it opened on Saturday. But he said officials were concerned that more people weren’t aware of the variety many services were available to them there, from handling tax issues with the board of equalization to filing claims with the state employment development agency.

“You don’t have to come in and eat the whole elephant in one day,” Runion said. “Come in and get a couple things done, go take care of your life, then come back and get a few more things done.”

Wednesday morning, about 25 people were talking with representatives from a variety of county and state agencies as well as staff from insurance companies and service charities, Runion said.

A pharmacist was on hand for people in need of medication.

Licensed childcare is available on site.

The assistance center will be open from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. every day until at least Oct. 3 at 21256 Washington St.

For complete wildfire coverage go to: www.pressdemocrat.com/wildfire

You can reach Staff Writer Julie Johnson at 521-5220 or julie.johnson@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @jjpressdem.

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