Salvation Army still helping Camp Fire survivors one year later
One year after the Camp Fire devastated parts of Butte County, California, The Salvation Army is still working every single day to help survivors. The nonprofit was in the community before, during and will be there to help long after the disaster. To date, The Salvation Army has assisted 74,254 Camp Fire survivors. The value of those services amounts to $9,857,784.
As thousands of people gather in Paradise and surrounding communities on Friday, November 8, 2020 to remember those lost in the Camp Fire, The Salvation Army will be there to provide emotional and spiritual support. On Saturday, November 9, The Salvation Army participated in the We Stand Together event at the Paradise Alliance Church. The nonprofit will serve food to 2,500 people at the event.
“The Salvation Army is honored to attend and participate in the Camp Fire one-year memorial. We are even more resolved to provide support for the Ridge,” said Captain Arwyn Rodriguera, Chico Corps Officer.
The Camp Fire sparked early in the morning on November 8, 2018. It burned for 17 days, charring over 150,000 acres across Butte County. A major portion of the town of Paradise was destroyed, along with parts of Magalia and Concow. In total, 13,972 homes, 528 businesses and 4,293 other buildings, including The Salvation Army Thrift store in Paradise were destroyed. The fire claimed 85 lives, making it the most deadly and destructive wildfire in California state history.
For over 100 years, The Salvation Army has provided vital services to the North State area. When the fire first started, the nonprofit immediately began meeting basic needs; serving food to evacuees and first responders, providing temporary shelter and medical aid, and set up a distribution center for survivors.
As evacuations were lifted, and tens of thousands of evacuees went home, thousands found out they didn’t have anything to go back to. That’s when The Salvation Army began the next phase in their response. The nonprofit provided gift cards for local retailers, housing, rental and utility assistance, vouchers for families to replace appliances, medical and dental costs, household items replacement, and disaster construction.
To date, The Salvation Army has provided $2,810,073 in furniture alone for survivors getting back on their feet, $202,113 in disaster construction for those rebuilding, and provided 3,449 households with $5,263,620 worth of long-term recovery assistance. The Salvation Army even helped some businesses stay afloat and keep people employed.
“From the date of the fire until almost now, there was a void where people weren’t rebuilding, weren’t moving forward, and didn’t have their plans yet. For us to keep 19 staff members employed, without Salvation Army, I don’t think it would’ve happened, honestly,” said Vince Clarkson, owner of Hudson’s Appliance Center.
There are also recovery efforts happening in neighboring counties. The Salvation Army is currently building 8 transitional homes. Beginning in 2020, those homes will be open to families who survived the Camp Fire. They’ll be able to stay in the homes for up to one year as they work on their recovery plans. The families will receive casework, have access to education and counseling, as well as food and transportation assistance.
The Salvation Army operates solely off donations from generous supporters. One hundred percent of donations to the Camp Fire went directly to support the operation to help those in need. The Salvation Army provided practical assistance that is vital for survivors to rebuild their lives. The nonprofit is planning to continue this assistance well into 2022. To learn more about the recovery operation and to support The Salvation Army’s efforts, go to www.campfirereport.org.