September 23, 2021 | by Steve Elliott
California-Nevada team onsite at the Chester Disaster Resource Center last week. Left to right - Becky Stockdale, Pastor Portola and Quincy UMC, Charles White, Pastor Susanville UMC, Mary Ellen and Doug Huey, ERTs from Lynnewood UMC in Pleasanton.
Editor's Note: Give Now! Right now, our financial support is crucial. Our dollars make gift cards, hotel rooms, groceries, and clean water possible for our brothers and sisters affected by the Dixie Fire and their calls for help are coming.
There is no way to fast forward through recovery from a wildfire. Most everything is gone, except the car full of stuff you scrambled to save. Everything. Now what? Shelter for a few weeks. Look for a temporary place to stay. Adhoc meals. Patience. Frustration. Recovery is one step at a time.
Continuing our commitment of a faith in action, your California-Nevada Conference continues to serve wildfire survivors as they try to move forward.
Lead by their respective pastors, Andrew Davis at Foothill UMC and Laura Barnes at Placerville Federated, members of the local churches have spent the last two weeks following up with survivors of the Caldor Fire. A simple phone call to just check-in is so appreciated! Food assistance and additional gift cards were provided. Referrals for housing, mental health and other needs made where possible.
UMCOR will be funding a $10,000 grant to help with additional short-term needs. Soon, Federal government assistance in the form of FEMA financial help will begin to be available. It can’t come soon enough.
And lastly, we have offered to help survivors with sifting the ashes of their home to look for possessions that might have survived. This work, lead by the Cal-Nev Conference Early Response Team, starts this week.
Now heading into Month Two, survivors are cobbling together temporary housing and financial support as best they can. Lead by pastors Becky Stockdale (Quincy and Portola UMC), Charles White (Susanville UMC) and Mele Vakapuna (Chester and Greenville UMC), we have continued to provide food assistance and gift cards for immediate needs. The $10,000 emergency UMCOR grant for this fire is being put to good use.
In addition, last week, the Cal-Nev Conference Early Response Team, the pastors and members of the local churches, staffed a presence for three days at the Plumas County sponsored Disaster Recovery Center in Chester. We offered survivors gift cards, hygiene kits, wildfire buckets and cleaning supplies.
Becky Stockdale is now serving on the recently formed Dixie Fire Long Term Recovery Group. This Group is beginning to plan the support needed and the work to be done over the next three to five years. It is a slow, tedious journey. But, as has been proven over the years, the United Methodist Church has the staying power to see this recovery through.