July 28, 2022 | by Steve Elliott
As if we needed a reminder, we are well into wildfire season. Thousands of evacuees of the Oak Fire in Mariposa County need our prayers and support.
Pastor Mark Buenafe of Mariposa UMC reports: “while several outlying communities have been impacted; the main town of Mariposa has been spared.” As containment creeps up, we are encouraged that the damage will be limited. But, nonetheless, several dozen families have lost their homes, and sadly more losses are expected.
The immediate priority is the safety and care of everyone in evacuation shelters and temporary locations. There are two evacuated families staying at the Mariposa church. The challenge is food and water for all the impacted people and pets. Many local restaurants and organizations are rallying to meet the need.
Your Cal-Nev Conference Disaster Response Ministry is primed and ready to deploy once there is sufficient containment and the County is ready for us. We will be staffing the Local Assistance Center providing evacuees and survivors with gift cards, hygiene kits and other resources. If nothing else, our ministry of presence offers a “willing ear.” Talking about the current reality always helps.
Once recovery starts, we will offer survivors a variety of services and support. This might include assistance with temporary housing, food, clothing, and household necessities. Our trained Early Response Team members can help with cleanup and retrieving personal items.
If you are interested in helping, the most useful thing is a donation to our Conference Disaster Response Fund. California-Nevada Disaster Response Fund (brtapp.com). For more information about our Disaster Response Ministry, go to California-Nevada Conference of The UMC | About Disaster Response (cnumc.org).