Despite the utter devastation caused by the enormous wildfire that has engulfed much of Northern California, stories hope and faith continue to emerge.
At the center of relief efforts in the city of Redding, California, is Bethel Church — a large charismatic congregation with global reach. In conjunction with its humanitarian arm, Bethel Global Response (BGR), the Christian church has become an official distribution hub, helping administer vital food and supplies to families affected by the blaze.
Starting today, July 30th, Bethel is open as an official Distribution Hub for the The Salvation Army USA at our College View campus (933 College View Dr.). Daily from 9am-7pm, we invite anyone impacted by the Carr Fire to come and grab supplies, meals and support:-Household & Cleaning Supplies-Baby Food, Diapers/Wipes-Personal Hygiene Toiletries-Water Bottles / Gatorade-Non-Perishable Food Items-Children’s Clothing-Cooling Center-Emotional & Spiritual Care-Meals provided by Mercy Chefs starting TuesdayIf you would like to volunteer, donate or learn more about relief efforts visit: www.bethel.com/carrfire
Posted by Bethel Church, Redding on Monday, July 30, 2018
“We’ve got teams of volunteers who are offloading trucks and getting ready to serve people in Redding that are in need,” said BGR’s director, Jordan Pacilio, in a video announcing the hub. “We’re are just grateful to be a part of this effort to serve the people of Northern California.”
Pacilio also noted that people can come to the hub to receive care of all different types.
“We have a cooling center, which is an air-conditioned room where people can just sit and listen to instrumental music,” she said. “We’ll also have services available should anyone want spiritual care.”
“If you have a need, we want to be here to serve,” she added.
In addition to their on-the-ground efforts, Bethel members have set up a Facebook group called “Bethel Community Carr Fire Support,” where thousands of locals are pitching in to help each other out during this trying time.
“Hi everyone! My husband and I have a few rentals coming available. We’d like to offer them first to folks who lost their homes. Know anyone?” one woman posted to the page. “Send them our way. We are also looking for local businesses that are generously giving things away – we would like to support them financially. DM me!”
SWIPE RIGHT TO WATCH FULL VIDEO // Yesterday, we officially opened as a @salvationarmyus Distribution Center, and provided supplies and support to over 500 people from the Redding community. We are open again today, and along with supplies and support, will be offering free meals Mon-Sat from 9am-7pm, Sun 2pm-7pm. Here is a brief update from Kris Vallotton, Bethel Senior Associate Leader, and Lauren Vallotton, Director of Church Operations.
Others have devoted themselves to helping out the brave firefighters who continue to battle against the flames. The Carr Fire is now the seventh most destructive wildfire in California state history — it has decimated more than 112,000 acres, and, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, it is still only 30 percent contained.
“Opportunity for people wanting to help the firefighters…” another Facebook user posted to the support group. “Doing laundry for the firefighters who are coming off the fire so they can rest instead of do laundry. It will need to be done within 3 hours of picking up. Must wear gloves to protect your hands from poison oak. Include a thank you note for some extra giving. Message or call me and I will get you specifics.”
There are plenty more heartwarming gestures of generosity and love. A wonderful video of a little girl handing out warm breakfast burritos to a team of heroic firefighters went viral Monday, garnering more than 4,000 shares.
Feeding these guys a warm breakfast
Posted by Chelsey Lutz on Monday, July 30, 2018
“Look at those boots!” one of the firefighters says as the cute little girl hands him a burrito. “Thank you!”
“Sometimes it’s the small things that truly count,” one person commented on the video.”Hands up to this family.”
“Small things are wonderful,” another added. “She is adorable while doing a good thing. Thank you all for your service.”
Chelsey Lutz, the girl’s mother, captured the video of 2-year-old Gracie. She told CBS News that her family “just wanted to show our support” for the brave individuals who are fighting to save their homes. Lutz’s two brothers, Colton and Kody, and her father, Jerry, are all working with Cal Fire to battle the inferno.
Over 1,000 homes and other buildings have been destroyed or damaged in the blaze which has spread across much of Shasta County — some 52,000 residents have been evacuated.
Other organizations, such as the Salvation Army and Red Cross, are also helping with the enormous humanitarian relief effort. Faith-based relief organization Samaritan’s Purse is also due to arrive on scene Wednesday, a spokeswoman told Faithwire.
“The Disaster Relief Unit deployed yesterday from North Carolina and should arrive in California on Wednesday,” she said, adding that a large team of volunteers will “help families recover personal items like photo albums and keepsakes from the ashes.”
Earlier this week, Samaritan’s Purse President Rev. Franklin Graham solicited prayers for those affected by the fierce inferno in a widely-shared Facebook post.
“Please pray for those in the path of this deadly wildfire that is tearing through communities in California,” Graham wrote. “Authorities said that winds reaching 60 mph are creating firenadoes strong enough to overturn vehicles. A bulldozer operator was killed and three firefighters injured yesterday. Especially pray for the protection of all those battling this and many blazes in several states in the west.”
“We are overwhelmed by the support Redding and Shasta County has received from the local community and from around the world,” Bethel Church posted in a Facebook update yesterday. “We are honored to come alongside our community, and begin to rebuild together.”
“We’re grateful to the countless volunteers, donors and organizations.”