It’s time to give. I have my family. I have my home. I work with great people on a daily basis. I have my business. I am upset about what is happening to our neighbors to the north.
I buy cover crop seed for the farm from a gentleman named Bill from Paradise. Bill has his life. He lost his home, his business and his siblings lost their homes as well. I talked to Bill this weekend and I’ve been thinking about him ever since. I didn’t know what to say. He told me he was trying to get his mind around things. Not much else to say. I suppose Bill was one of the lucky ones. He and his family have their lives.
I can only imagine the hell that our neighbors have been going through.
I haven’t been able to sleep and I’ve been in a bad mood.
This is the time of year when we should be talking about the festivities coming up. This is the time of year when our emails are filled with ideas for great gifts and holiday celebration. For me personally, I’m having a hard time going there. All I can think about is Bill and the hell that our neighbors are going through.
Take pause and think about how lucky you are. It’s time to give. It’s just that simple.
High-Hand Nursery and Loomis Basin Brewery are accepting donations to help our neighbors to the north affected by the Butte County Camp Fire. We will receive donations up until 5:00 p.m., Thursday.
Friday morning we will load up our delivery truck and head north to the evacuees in Chico. We will keep doing this until we’re told to stop. Every Friday we will make a run to Chico with donated items.
We are seeking:
- Gift cards for food and gas
- Paper plates, cups, plastic utensils
- New underwear, mostly for women and girls
- New socks
- Sleeping bags
We will accept cash donations. Cash donations will be converted into gift cards for food and gas.
I have my family. I have my home. I am blessed. For me, it’s very simple. I am going to Walmart to load up.
We ask humbly for your donations. Our neighbors to the north are going through something I just can’t fathom.
I have faith in the human spirit that we will bring ourselves together in community and do our small part in bringing comfort.
From all of us from High-Hand Nursery and Loomis Basin Brewery we thank you.
• UPDATE •
Since yesterday’s email we’ve received a lot of responses, donations, and thoughts. With every tragedy comes a tremendous amount of unknowns. The needs are ever changing.
A lady called us today asking for a donation of underwear for her and her daughter. As we talked to her more she explained that she was from Magalia, not Paradise. She had lost everything. She has made it to Cool, where her parents are. There’s no access to donations since she’s outside that zone. Because of your generous cash and gift card donations, we were able to give her access. Thank you for making that happen.
I hear stories of not having I.D. and being turned away by major non-profits due to lack of proof of residency. That pisses me off. Seriously. Most people left their homes with just their shirt on their back.
We’ve been contacted by many people in response to our email. So many stories. So many tragedies. It’s going to hurt for a very long time.
We received a response from Kathy. She wrote, “I looked around my house and asked ‘What do I need for Christmas? NOTHING!'”
“No Christmas gifts for me”, she said. “Just donate”.
Understand that First Responders lost everything as well. Incredibly sad.
All this has gotten me thinking. Let’s just be honest. I have no problem giving. I will give to the Red Cross and United Way, but I always feel more comfortable if I know it’s going directly to a person in need. I always give more and dig deeper if I know it’s going straight into the artery of the need.
We’re going to deliver all your donations on Monday. They will most likely be taken to Gridley where they will be sorted and organized for distribution. We will be accepting donations through the weekend.
What is needed most are gift cards. We’ve had people drop off cash, all of which will be converted to gift cards. We’ve had people drop off gift cards as well. Stacks of them. I would suspect that a Visa or Mastercard prepaid would be most useful and give access to almost anywhere a person could need.
I have a hard time handing over a stack of gift cards and not knowing where they’re going. I want to know what I know. I want to know that these gift cards are being delivered straight to people in need. So, we are going to do just that. As long as you bring us gift cards, we are going to drive to Chico and distribute them directly to the people in need ourselves.
We are also going to identify people who are outside the donation zone without direct access. We will make sure there is a need and we will solve it. It’s just that simple.
Thank you so much for your support so far. I did not sleep last night, but my heart feels a little bit lighter. We are now in the mode of serving people and we will make sure that your gift card donations are handed straight to people in need.
Write a small note. Tell them you love them. As long as we receive gift cards throughout the holiday we will continue to find ways to distribute them directly.
From our hearts, thank you.
• UPDATE 11/16/18 •
Yesterday I left High-Hand with a truck load of blankets, sleeping bags and gift cards. I had no real target – I just went to seek out a need. I made five stops and learned a lot. Volunteers are doing their best, but what I discovered was most of the distribution and donation centers are no longer taking anything used as far as clothes are concerned. I was able to directly distribute over $6,000 in gift cards, blankets and sleeping bags. At the Butte Fairgrounds the Red Cross is setting up to feed. As the weather gets worse they will be moving people indoors to community centers there. Your donations went to a lady warming her tent with a hair dryer, sleeping bags to a grandmother with grandchildren, gas cards went a mother with a 3 week old baby using her cars engine for warmth. She had a choice to make, use the gas to keep her baby warm or drive out to the Salvation Army to get the things she needed. Your donations solved both of her needs. After later notifying the police about her condition they are now trying to find her to offer further help.
I now know where to take used items and new items. If everything is just sent up in a pile it will stay in a pile. We are a separating new from used and into categories as we can take them to specific places to be distributed.
Here’s what we need:
- Huge need for gift cards for food and gas
- New children’s toys
- Brand new sleeping bags, blankets, pillows, sheets (due to the outbreak of the Norovirus, all bedding of those afflicted must be destroyed)
Here’s what’s no longer needed:
- Clothes are no longer needed and are being turned away
Currently I’m heading back up with another load of blankets and sleeping bags. I am coordinating with a lady named Kim who is directing what she can and pointing us to areas that just can’t get to the donation stations. The Red Cross is overwhelmed as you can imagine as well as other organizations. We have identified families that are on the move and we’re providing assistance. In case we didn’t stress it enough, the greatest need is simply gift cards. All cash donations will be converted into gift cards as well.
Things are constantly changing and with your help we will stay ahead of it. I promise you that your donations will go straight into the artery of the need. Hard goods are cumbersome to distribute. I have a contact on the ground up there that will tell me where the need is, it changes daily.
We can’t thank you enough for your kindness, love and support – the situation is so sad, but your donations and gifts are so appreciated.