It was like herding cats as we tried to get Ginger, Mazey, and Copper to pose for a picture in front of the Christmas tree. Ginger belongs to our son's girlfriend, and Copper belongs to our son. The three of them had a ball at the cabin. They also were a big help when we put up the tree.....NOT!
|Ginger, Mazey and Copper|
Anyway, I have been in contact with Alex Anderson from The Quilt Show (TQS). TQS gave my fundraiser a big shout out today on their Daily Blog. Click HERE to see their blog. To date, over $11,000 has passed through my post office box. I've sent substantial checks out to six families severely impacted by the fire.
I'll be in Chico tomorrow and meet with three Paradise Guild members to brainstorm on how best to help. Alex Anderson is going to be instrumental in helping the quilters in Paradise. We are going to try to get everyone a care package. We are still working out the details.
I'm trying to do the best I can to help those in need. The problem is, everyone who was caught in the fire is in great need. Two of my friends in Chico have a son who works for Cal Fire. He is going to give me names of first responders who lost everything. At the top of the list, is a family with a 4 year-old son. As soon as I get their contact information, they will get a check.
The generosity of the quilting community has astounded me on a daily basis. Here are the people who YOU have helped so far.
1. A quilter who is also a school bus driver. She drove many children out of town to safety. She lost everything including her car which she left in the school parking lot while she saved others. No insurance.
2. A childhood friend with three generations of family who lived in Paradise. Out of the six families, five of them lost everything. Some of them didn't have insurance.
3. Another family friend with a disabled daughter. The daughter was living in a nursing home in Paradise, now they are all together in a two bedroom home with family out of town.
4. A childhood friend who I've known since kindergarten. Everything is gone including her new studio which she never had the chance to use.
5. Another childhood friend who I've know forever. My sister Gail went through school with her husband. This couple also has a disabled son who lives with them. They purchased a used RV and planned to park it in a relatives driveway......until the neighbors complained.
6. Our renters who have been bouncing around from shelter to campground in a very small, vintage travel trailer. Their children are living with grandparents in the Sacramento area. They just want to be together and be a family again. Again, no insurance.
There is such sadness. I spoke with a childhood friend yesterday who I tracked down on Face Book through his sister. He is in a shelter in Chico with 1,000 other people! I haven't talked with him in almost 50 years. I could barely hold it together while he spoke as his story is harrowing. His power and phone went out two hours before the fire reached his area in upper Paradise. The sky got very dark and he realized what was happening. He ran to all of his neighbors, warned them, and they got out to safety. There were 25 mobile homes on his street.....it took 10 minutes for all of them to burn down. By the time he got back to his mobile home, it was starting to burn along with his vintage truck. He barely got out in time. It took him three hours to get out of town to safety. Some of his drive was through the flames and fireballs. This week he was allowed to go back to his area to sift through the ashes for something.....anything. He is leaving the area permanently. The memories of his last day are too profound for him to return. Since he saved so many, I feel he deserves financial help.
His word of warning to me was, don't go back and see the devastation. Remember town as it was.
Fundraising is my new part-time job. With the mention on TQS, it could become my new full-time job. A role I will gladly accept.
Again, thank you all for your generosity. I believe together we can make a difference by neighbor helping neighbor, and friend helping friend.