As I look through the thousands of volunteers who offered their time and resources to help, I recognize many of the names as wildfire survivors. Personally, I no longer identify those impacted by this disaster as just “survivors”… because they are actually HEROES! While the rest of us were asked to stay home and stay safe, they witnessed their safe places burn. In the face of a wall of destruction approaching they made the decision to be heroes and notify their neighbors, gather their friends, pets and strangers. Thousands arrived at Thurston High School, Silke Field and the Masonic Center not only seeking aid but offering it as well. As the LOVEfirst Secretary I can proudly say that each name is written and accounted for. Although most of the immediate needs are fulfilled, we continue to receive new folks who have been making it alone and are just now reaching out for aid. Others are finding unmet needs that still need to be satisfied.
Living in temporary housing like a hotel or trailer is not cheap. Restricted by the limited ability to prepare food, our hero survivors are running out of traditional resources early. We are urgently asking for donations of easy to prepare non perishable foods, new or gently used bedding and rain boots. Gas and grocery cards are also in high demand.
Accepting donations Tuesday’s and Thursday’s from 12-3p at 1489 Mohawk Blvd in Springfield. Larger donations can be accepted by appointment outside of these hours.
My personal wildfire experience is from my mother who was evacuated from the Paradise Camp Fire two years ago. I had just installed a Ring doorbell camera on her house. While I was talking to her through the doorbell camera I could hear people screaming and see the glow of the fire in the sky. My mom was completely taken by surprise by the evacuation order, as her home was in eastern Chico. I felt helpless unable to arrive in time to help. There was a neighbor who we used to always complain about, he would park his giant 3/4 ton utility service truck in front of her house in the evening. For the sake of privacy I will call him Sam. Later that evening, I watched nervously through the doorbell camera waiting to see the flames take over, instead I saw what I thought was rain. I asked my mother if it was raining, she said no. It turned out that Sam had a fire hose in his utility truck and hooked it up and sprayed down all the homes in the neighborhood saving them from the hot embers that otherwise would have ignited them. Needless to say, we never complained about Sam again.
Sam’s neighborly kindness saved my mother’s home. Today, we are not physically running from the flames, but many of us are still running emotionally. A kind word or listening ear is just as important as shelter. They both can save a life. Studies show that survivors of natural disasters are at their most vulnerable for depression at 6 and 18 months after the event.
Please share the following hotline especially dedicated to those impacted by wildfires…
Updated General List of Needed Items
Additionally, we have the following list of general needs from our friends and neighbors impacted by the fire.
General List of Needed Items
We are happy to announce our participation with the Cascade Relief Team’s (CRT) effort to kickstart volunteer-lead property cleanup in Blue River February 19-21. For more information or to volunteer contact Marc Brooks with the CRT at:
Thank you for your support, your example and most especially your trust as we continue to work to support you, our hero survivors.
Secretary | LOVEfirst Disaster Relief