On September 26th United Methodist volunteers gathered at the Bear Creek Community Center in Boulder Creek, CA to help distribute 72 UMCOR clean up buckets and 16 wildfire buckets to people affected by wildfires as the community begins the long road to recovery.
This effort follows a nearly 3 weeks deployment of volunteers to the Santa Cruz County Recovery Resource Center where hundreds of survivors received support, wildfire buckets, cleaning supplies, tools and Personal Protection Equipment (PPE).
California-Nevada Disaster Response Ministry Director Sonja Edd-Bennett has been extremely busy during this historic fire season, supporting and coordinating efforts like this one across northern Nevada and northern California.
Volunteers who gathered to help distribute the relief buckets included Boulder Creek UMC Pastor Clyde Vaughn, a number of members of the church, and Doug and Mary Ellen Huey. The Hueys are a part of California-Nevada's Disaster Response Leadership Team and have been trained as Early Response Team (ERT) members. They have experience in responding to the early days following fires and serving at the local assistance center.
Doug and Mary Ellen gave a quick orientation to the church members, stressing the importance of simply listening; and as each gave out resources they had opportunity to provide much needed spiritual and emotional care as survivors told as much or as little of their story as they wanted in that moment. With so many volunteers, Pastor Vaughn was able to connect with the community in the room and outside. “We didn’t talk about Jesus, but we shared Christ’s Love in what we did,” the Pastor reported. “It made a difference.”
The UMCOR clean up buckets were given to people whose homes had ash and some lingering smoke smell, as well as to those having to move into a new or temporary home with no resources to purchase cleaning materials. Any left over buckets were sent to the Boulder Creek church so they may continue in the response and recovery effort. The 16 wildfire buckets were quickly given to people whose homes were burned out and who planned to search for any remnants of their belongings.Click here to access the Disaster Response web page on the California-Nevada Conference website to find out how you can give your time, talent and resources to help our faith family face the future with hope.