This is an update of the last three days in our efforts to help victims of the Camp Fire. I’d like to thank you. Our efforts to date would not be possible without you. When I say “our”, I mean us. All of us. All of you who have given donations and gift cards have helped facilitate an outreach of giving, caring and love.
We have made trips into Chico several times since Thursday. All of the clothes, sleeping bags, pillows, and blankets have been distributed. We have disbursed over $10,000 of gift cards and cash directly into the evacuees’ hands. We will continue this as long as we can.
After several trips, I can tell you that every trip is different. This weekend was considered the transit weekend. The Red Cross, FEMA and local authorities are trying to transport everyone who’s living in tents into shelters. There are some that are leery to go. They are trying to hold onto their spot that they have carved out for themselves.
The many people I have come in contact with have been understandably dazed and confused. Your gifts have caused many to break down in tears. They always say “thank you”. One gentleman said, “I didn’t think anybody cared.”
Shelters are popping up here and there. They’re either permanent or temporary. The Salvation Army is doing a good job in preparing food at the shelters. The Red Cross is doing a great job in logistical support and medical attention. The norovirus is creating problems, but not deterring the Red Cross or Salvation Army volunteers. There are private shelters as well that are not supported by the network. Your donations are going to those shelters as well.
We have reached out to hundreds of people, thanks to your donations. Jim, a Vietnam vet, who lived alone in Magalia, was leery of receiving any contribution. Thanks to your donations he has received needed cash for the basics of life as he sits in a shelter for the last ten days.
The three week old baby girl in the Walmart parking lot, her mother, grandmother and five year old sister, Faith, are now staying in an RV in Gridley. They have received gift cards and basics. The Dalmatian blanket Faith received has been therapeutic.
Locally there are several families in hotels. We have made contact and have been able to disburse funds as well. One gentleman, his five children and wife, lost everything as they fled. He’s a high school teacher in Paradise. With his basic needs being met at this time, he has agreed to help us distribute gift cards to fire victims in Chico. While his needs are great, I am grateful for his willingness to pay it forward. Who better to deliver your gifts than a person who is living the Hell.
We’ve established a network and are receiving requests daily. My new friend, Kevin, is traveling from shelter to shelter, identifying specific, pointed needs. I delivered one hundred gallons of milk and dispersed it accordingly, thanks to your donations.
My two Red Cross friends are also moving about and sending back contact information of people in dire need. Jim, the Vietnam vet was one of them. A proud, proud man he is. He told me over the phone he’s never had to ask anybody for anything, but I explained to him that he needs to receive in order move forward. He cried. He is grateful.
FEMA has opened this weekend at the Sears store in the Chico mall. They are busing people into the center where they can get new I.D.’s and fill out paperwork to get started. We are meeting people at that line and are distributing needed gifts directly.
Today, we have identified nine more families. Donny, the school teacher who lost his home in the fire, will set out tomorrow to pass forward gift cards.
We are keeping an eye on the families that are arriving in our local area as well as they are outside the donation zone. We are helping with food and basics.
We have distributed your gift cards to 28 different First Responders and their families who have lost their homes. We will continue to seek out First Responders in need.
A story that does not get talked about often is the animals. Butte County Fairgrounds in Gridley is doing well taking care of about 100 horses. Cats and dogs are at the Chico airport. There’s over 1,000 there and it’s growing. While they are being cared for and needs being met, it is ongoing. A bigger tragedy is up in the fire zone itself. Today, I delivered a semi-truck load of hay to Cowbow 911.
Cowboy 911 is a group of people who are up in the fire zone bringing animals off the hills. Cows, sheep, goats, horses. The animals roam around, not knowing where to go. The hay is being distributed directly into the fire zone to support the animals. We are grateful to be able to support Cowboy 911 them in their amazing efforts.
I can’t thank you enough for your response. The situation north is fluid and ever changing.
The need for blankets and sleeping bags is starting to slow down. You have provided 5 truckloads to date. The most helpful items right now are gift cards and cash. I used cash to buy the hundred gallons of milk, for instance.
Tomorrow gift cards will be delivered to a grandmother and her nine year old grandson. He turns 10 on Saturday and has no shoes. Thank you for helping him.
High-Hand provided the funds for the semi-truck load of hay today. Your donations are going directly to people in need. I would like to send up another truck load of hay after Thanksgiving. A truck load of hay costs around $4,500. We truck it from Dixon. If you wish to contribute cash for future truckloads of hay to support Cowboy 911, it is greatly appreciated.
The last four days for me have been challenging, rewarding and humbling. I have so many pictures I would love to post of the people you have helped. They are so sincere and grateful. The simple gifts you have provided have lightened their hearts.
I promise you your gifts will continue to go straight into the hands of those in dire need. Our network of identifying those in need is growing and more and more people are being helped by your generosity.
Thank you for allowing us and trusting us to bless those in need.
I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving.