Offering a Hug & Helping Hand to Those Affected by the Camp Fire
I learned that simply offering a hug or saying “we are here to help you” was enough to turn the fear in their eyes, to hope. Hope that they will get through this tragedy and provide the strength to move forward.
The devastation caused by the Camp Fire is still hard to completely comprehend, but it’s in these times of need where I am comforted to know humanity still comes together to help those affected by such destruction. I had heard about the fires and seen how quickly it was spreading through Paradise and surrounding areas, but it wasn’t until I heard that family members and friends were directly impacted that I really grasped the situation. I knew that I had to help those impacted in any way I could.
I had the honor of volunteering in Chico in the days after the initial break out of the fire to aid those affected by what is now considered the deadliest wildfire in Northern California. Being at the front lines made it feel so surreal and provided a feeling one can’t obtain through news sources or word of mouth. The air was so thick with smoke, making it difficult to breathe and see more than a couple blocks. Seeing the charred ground on either side of the highway as we drove through the city to the designated relief area was saddening and hard to not feel helpless against mother nature.
Once I arrived on the scene, it was more than imminent that help was needed. I assisted State Farm in checking-in people who had essentially lost everything except the clothes on their back. Seeing folks wearing nothing but slippers and pajamas, holding their pets in their arms was tough to watch and hearing people’s stories of how they had minutes to escape was heart-wrenching. However, I found hope in being able to get them set up with a claims number and file for an insurance claim as the first step in rebuilding their lives.
I know that money doesn’t replace the memories or items lost, but knowing help is available for those in need gave me comfort and that a check was given to help people start over. I learned that simply offering a hug or saying “we are here to help you” was enough to turn the fear in their eyes, to hope. Hope that they will get through this tragedy and provide the strength to move forward.