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It sure is one messy world, isn’t it?

RICHARD BENYO

Forestville

Acts of altruism

EDITOR: I have never served in the military, but I understand that in combat there is a selflessness that rises, a devotion to the welfare of others known as altruism. From the front line of hunger relief, the Sonoma complex fire provided me with a glimpse into what that must be like.

I witnessed a volunteer who received news of her destroyed home via a text message, then continued to provide bags of groceries to evacuees, never pausing to grieve her own loss. There was the volunteer sorting donations of food with a bullet lodged in her back, a casualty of the mass shooting in Las Vegas.

Then there was Thursday’s gathering of Redwood Empire Food Bank board members, half of whom lost their homes yet still were working to help our neighbors in need of food.

As a hunger relief worker, my faith in humanity was well nourished by the countless acts of altruism.

DAVID GOODMAN

Chief executive officer, Redwood Empire Food Bank

Shipping containers

EDITOR: As residents of wildfire-prone San Diego, we feel terrible for the thousands of Santa Rosans, Napans, Mendocinoans and others who have lost their homes. Given the sheer number of houses to rebuild as soon as possible, I have two words — shipping containers.

Millions of these fireproof, sea-tested, steel containers are sitting on docks up and down California’s coast, waiting for a new home. They connect and stack like Lego bricks. Spaces for windows, doors, wall passages and skylights can be cut out. They’re inexpensive — around $4,000 each for 400 square feet — and can become a house of any size. And on HGTV, they’ve shown how quickly containers can be plumbed, wired, insulated and dry-walled to look like any conventional house on the inside (and outside, if you want), producing a finished home in 8-12 weeks.

Santa Rosa residents already have foundations and hookups. All you need is an expedient way to rebuild, and shipping containers would provide the perfect solution. Plus, you’re helping the environment by recycling these as shelters. For my next house, I plan to find land where I can build a shipping container house for all its practicality, eco-friendliness, cost-effectiveness, inflammability and innovativeness … a perfect writer’s retreat.

BETH WAGNER BRUST

La Jolla

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