Rebuilds Start After 2017 Northern California Firestorm

August 13, 2019

United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) rebuilds have begun for October 2017 Northern California firestorm survivors. This includes destroyed areas in Santa Rosa, Mendocino, Lake, and Napa counties. In Mendocino County, UMCOR is partnering with Hope Crisis Response Network to rebuild homes, beginning in Redwood Valley and Potter Valley. 

Steve Elliot, who has been providing United Methodist Volunteer in Mission (UMVIM) training, assembled the first volunteer rebuilding team. They spent the week of July 14-21 in Redwood Valley and Potter Valley putting the final touches on two single-story wood frame homes, preparing for the homeowners to move in.

The homes had been partially constructed by AmeriCorps, a corporation for National and Community Service. However, AmeriCorps' work season ended on July 12 before the homes were finished. The volunteer UMCOR team stepped in to complete the project, including painting, building porches and ramps, and finishing electrical work.

More than 8,000 buildings were destroyed in the firestorm, so there is an ongoing need for volunteer teams. If you're interested in taking part, note the information provided by Danielle Rodrick Juszczak, UMCOR's coordinator of volunteers in Mendocino County:  
(Redwood Valley and Potter Valley
  • Work is typically Monday-Friday with a Sunday evening arrival.
  • All levels of skill are welcome.
  • Smaller teams and individuals are welcome. We can combine groups.
  • Volunteer housing has been made available in Redwood Valley and is just $50 a week per person! 
    • There are bunk beds, a full kitchen, two full bathrooms and a living space – and Wi-Fi (a bit slow, but it's there).
    • Bunk beds are available for up to 12, but there's some floor space available for air mattresses.
  • Proof of ONLINE BACKGROUND CHECK AND SAFE SANCTUARIES CLEARANCE or your conference equivalent is required.
  • This work is being done in partnership with Hope Crisis Response Network.

    For more information, contact Volunteers Coordinator Danielle Rodrick Juszczak at (Please cc: Shari Sandoval at

"We will be hiring additional volunteer coordinators, disaster case managers, and a long-term recovery coordinator to oversee the work in these four counties [Santa Rosa, Mendocino, Lake, and Napa],"  notes Sonja Edd-Bennett, California-Nevada Annual Conference director of Disaster Response.

For more information on volunteering opportunities, contact  Edd-Bennett at 916-374-1525 or, or click on the Disaster Response link on the home page of the Cal-Nevada website,