From The Publisher
Eileen Heinz Majors
When Devastation Comes, Love Follows
Our corner of NorCal has been through a lot since our last publication went to press. So much pain, then so much love has come about. It was a chilling day for all as we watched our friends and neighbors in Paradise literally flee for their lives. So shortly after the devastating effects of the Carr Fire, Northern California was hit yet again by what would become known as the most devastating wildfire in California History.
The fire burned more than 153,000 acres, killed at least 85 people, and destroyed more than 13,000 homes.
Thousands of stories would be told of brave rescues and daring escapes from the fire that would rob each resident in this small town of their very existence as they knew it. Word spread quickly, so quickly that as evacuee Kitty Smith put it, “By the time we got down that hill, Chico had its arms wide open. Everyone wanted to help.”
Love poured out from Chico and indeed from near and far. Local nearby counties of people reacted quickly with gifts for their NorCal neighbors. Paradise High School students received help from other high schools, who were eager to help their peers in Paradise. Local news showed a giant sign on one campus displaying, “You know what they want.” Lassen High School put together gifts and a welcome dinner when their Paradise rivals came to play a game. Almost every little town across the region began collecting and delivering gifts and monetary donations.
Television and radio news reports were pouring in with stories of love and giving; word on how to give spread quickly and donations began to multiply. Firefighters in Susanville raised nearly $60,000 in five hours. Red Bluff immediately began collecting donations too, as did all the local NorCal communities. Businesses helped too, lots of them. Jeremy and Jen Wolfe, owners of Mayhem Gourmet Grilled Cheese, a catering truck in Chico, set up their food truck business and made food for evacuees for five days, for free. There were many businesses, organizations and citizens who were compelled to help, and that they did; in giant ways. Many are still giving, sharing a place in their home, giving food, time and resources to help Paradise residents heal. Families from all over dug deep and gave in any way they could. Some exchanged holiday gift-giving rituals for sharing with Paradise victims. The reality hit us all. It could have been anything; it could have been any of us.
With mountains of gifts and sacrifices being made, given in the spirit of true generosity, our NorCal communities saw a blanket of love quickly respond to the masses of need; it united us as neighbors, made each of us think and be thankful for what we have, and enlarged our opportunity to share.
There are many ways to give, and in a town where nearly everyone lost nearly everything, there are still many needs. As the healing continues, may God bless Paradise.