Cookin’ With Gas!

Dawn Dwyer of SBC helps load food and supplies for delivery to communities impacted by the Butte Fire.
Dawn Dwyer of SBC helps load food and supplies for delivery to communities impacted by the Butte Fire.

In times of disaster, there’s not one organization that can handle every need on their own. The American Red Cross relies on many different partners in the community to deliver much needed aid and support to affected areas.

One such partner is Southern Baptist Convention Disaster Relief, who have been providing one of the most valuable resources to residents impacted by the Butte Fire in California – food!

With their mobile kitchen, cooking supplies, and passionate volunteers, the SBC is churning out upwards of 2,000 meals a day to help feed affected communities and the many volunteers working tirelessly to deliver aid.

According to Dawn Dwyer, Disaster Relief Coordinator for the Sacramento Southern Baptist Association, “When people are hungry we’re, here and thats what it’s all about! We work as a team with the Red Cross to get the job done.”

SBC volunteers prepare lunch for delivery in Mountain Ranch, California.
SBC volunteers prepare lunch for delivery in Mountain Ranch, CA.

The Southern Baptist Mobile kitchen facility set up in San Andreas has the capacity to produce literally thousands of meals per day. On a recent night SBC volunteers prepared 750 servings of beef stew, loaded the meals into Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicles (ERVs), and provided a warm dinner for area residents.

Following delivery of another fresh lunch in the community of Mountain Ranch – a lunch of chicken fingers potato salad and banana pudding – Red Cross ERV driver, Sam Burgess, says, “It’s a very rewarding experience to see how grateful people are when the freshly cooked warm meals arrive.”

While food preparation is an SBC specialty, the team also provides mobile showers and other emergency relief solutions as disasters unfold and needs become known. They have the capacity to respond quickly and on a large scale just like the Red Cross thanks to their volunteer network, which extends both nationally and internationally.

Red Cross volunteers provide SBC-prepared food to affected communities.
Red Cross volunteers provide SBC-prepared food to affected communities.

We would like to salute the Southern Baptist Convention for their selfless contribution to communities in need! They are a reflection of the Red Cross mission to “alleviate human suffering during times of disaster”, and for that we – and those touched by disaster – are truly grateful.

Butte Fire: Red Cross Service Sites

Red Cross Information Hotline: (855) 224-2490

As the disaster relief effort continues in response to the Butte Fire in Calfornia’s Amador and Calaveras Counties, Red Cross volunteers are hard at work providing for the emergency needs of all those affected.

As more residents return to their communities, Red Cross volunteers are delivering cleaning supplies, hygiene and comfort items to neighborhoods hit hardest by the devastating Butte Fire. Items include water, snacks, non-perishable meals, and clean-up items such as gloves, buckets, trash bags and dust masks. Volunteers are visiting the following areas providing assistance:

  • Railroad Flat
  • Mokelumne Hill
  • Glencoe
  • West Point
  • San Andreas
  • Jackson
  • Murphys
  • Railroad Flat
  • Mountain Ranch Rd.
  • Jesus Maria Rd

Evacuation Shelters
Emergency shelters are available for residents seeking a safe place to stay, food, water, medications, health services, cleaning supplies, emotional support and other resources. Shelters are currently available at the following locations:

  • Jackson Rancheria
    12222 New York Ranch Rd
    Jackson, CA
  • Jenny Lynn Veterans Hall
    189 Pine Street
    Valley Springs, CA

Resource Centers
Additional resources and support may be found at the following local resource centers, where residents can meet with local agencies and receive updated information, basic needs, and referrals to programs and services:

  • Calaveras County Local Assistance Center
    Old Calaveras Government Center
    891 Mountain Ranch Rd
    San Andreas, CA
    (Open daily 8am – 5pm)
  • Red Cross Assistance Center
    St. Katherine Drexel Parish Center
    11361 Prospect Dr
    Jackson, CA
    (Open daily 9am – 7pm)

NOTE: Times are subject to change. Check back to this blog for updates.

NEWS: Red Cross Assistance Center Opens Today to Help People Affected by the Butte Fire

Jackson, CA, Thursday, September 19, 2015 – The American Red Cross will open a Client Assistance Center to help people affected by the Butte Fire beginning Saturday, September 19, 2015. The center is located at the St. Katharine Drexel Parish at 11361 Prospect Dr., in Jackson, California. The Center will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., for the next few days.

Residents from Amador and Calaveras Counties who were affected by the Butte Fire are welcomed at the assistance center to begin the recovery process. Red Cross caseworkers are available to help people create personal recovery plans, navigate paperwork, and locate assistance from the Red Cross and other agencies. Caseworkers will meet one-on-one with residents to help them with their specific disaster-caused emergency needs such as clean-up or new housing assistance, transportation costs, furniture and clothing replacement. 

Additionally, Red Cross volunteers will be distributing clean-up kits with mops, buckets, bleach, trash bags and rakes at this center and additional locations.

“Red Cross volunteers are loading trucks and traveling to affected neighborhoods with food and supplies. Our disaster workers are doing whatever we can to reach more people who need help,” said Teresa Caver, Interim CEO of the American Red Cross Gold Country Region.  “We understand that people are living in very tough conditions. The uncertainty of whether people will have homes to return to makes this an emotionally draining time. Red Cross mental health volunteers are supporting residents as they learn the status of the homes.”

Red Cross healthcare workers will also be there to help with minor medical needs, and trained mental health workers will be available to provide emotional support and coping strategies.

The American Red Cross will also be available at the Calaveras Local Assistance Center (CLAC) and provide information about available assistance. The CLAC will be operating at the Calaveras County Government Center located at 891 Mountain Ranch Road in San Andreas starting today at 9:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. and will be open until Monday.

Shelters remain open at Jackson Rancheria in Amador County, the Good Samaritan Church, and the Jenny Lynn Veterans Hall in Calaveras County. More than 1500 people sought refuge in our shelters and many more are visiting every day for hot meals and information about what help is available.

Trained Red Cross health and mental health workers are providing services to people at the shelters, including emotional support and replacing prescription medications and eyeglasses.

The Red Cross has provided the following to people impacted by the fires:

o          More than 5,400 overnight stays in shelters

o          More than 32,000 meals and snacks

o          More than 2,300 health and mental health services

DOWNLOAD THE FREE RED CROSS APPS

Stay informed: The Red Cross has several smartphone apps available that will alert you to National Weather Service warnings for severe weather and flash flooding and provide you with preparedness and safety information. These free apps are available for download at redcross.org/apps.

VOLUNTEERING

At this time, the American Red Cross of Gold Country Region is fortunate to have volunteers who are trained, ready and willing to support our response to the flooding in our communities. We thank individuals and community groups who are willing to support this effort and encourage them to register to become new volunteers to help with future disaster responses. Learn more and register online at redcross.org /volunteer and complete the online application.

About the American Red Cross Gold Country Region
Founded in 1898, the Gold Country Region of the American Red Cross serves 4.4 million people in Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, El Dorado, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Tuolumne, Yolo, and Yuba counties. The Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission.

For more information, visit our website, or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Red Cross Shelter Provides a Breath of Fresh Air

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Dawn Rosumalski is able to take a breath of fresh air, thanks to the Red Cross shelter at Jackson Rancheria.  Although Rosumalski’s home in Amador Pines is not located in the immediate fire area, the poor air quality has prevented her from returning.  The woman suffers from a respiratory condition that causes an anaphylactic reaction to smoke.

“My throat closes up and I have to give myself injections with an Epi pen,” Rosumalski said. “I just can’t take the chance of going back until the smoke has cleared.”

Rosumalski has been staying in a room at the Jackson Rancheria, where she can undergo daily breathing treatments. “Without the shelter, I wouldn’t have made it,” she said.

“The Red Cross has been wonderful,” Rosumalski continues. “They have provided everything I need.  All I have to do is ask, and it is there, twice over!”

Clients Choose Red Cross Shelter Over Hotel

red cross photosAuthor: Monique Knight, Red Cross Volunteer

Sangchan Sprayberry, 62, moved to Mountain Ranch less than three months ago and was preparing for retirement. Little did she know that, on Sept. 13, she would receive the wake-up call of her life.

”It was about 4am and I felt like God woke me from a sound sleep,” Sprayberry said. “I looked outside and saw fire lighting up the sky.”

The clock was ticking with only a few minutes to get out of the house safely. She was most concerned about quickly moving her 85-year-old mother, Noothin Bunraksa, who sleeps in the next room. “We left wearing pajamas and no shoes,” she said.

Once evacuated, the mother and daughter were welcomed into a Red Cross shelter in Valley Springs. Although the pair had the option of staying in a hotel, Bunraksa declined.

“I love it here,” the older woman said. “The Red Cross people are so nice! I have my own bed, food, medical care and even a church (the shelter happens to be at Good Samaritan Church). We have everything we need here.”

Sprayberry said while the fire has completely disrupted her life including her planned retirement, she feels fortunate. “I lost everything…my home, my car, my clothes and my possessions. But I am truly blessed,” she said. “We are lucky be alive and getting support from the Red Cross.”

Jackson Rancheria Provides Comfort and Shelter to Butte Fire Evacuees

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Author: Sandy Baker, Red Cross Volunteer

“It’s rewarding to pull this off,” says Rich Hoffman, CEO of Jackson Rancheria, sweeping his hand across the crowd of people eating dinner in the evacuation center dining hall.  Hundreds of evacuees fill the tables and line the back of the room filling plates from a buffet fit for any resort casino.  This seems to be a bright spot of their day, greeting friends and neighbors with hugs and teary eyes.

The question I keep asking myself, and now to Rich and Bill Thornton, Jackson Rancheria CFO, is this:  Why are you doing this?  “Hospitality is our business,” Rich says.  “We just changed our guests.”  A week ago, folks came in for relaxation and entertainment; now, the Rancheria is providing a safe place to sleep and meals three times a day to help evacuees be less stressed.

And they seem to be doing a fine job of that.  “They are an absolute godsend,” says Teri Lutzi, an evacuee from San Andreas.  She’s up at 6:00 am in the shelter lobby tying her shoes to get ready for work.  “Thanks to Jackson Rancheria and the Red Cross I have somewhere safe to sleep.”  She spent a night in her car, and a couple of nights camped out in a local business before registering here at the shelter.  She thinks her house may have survived the fire, but it has no power which means no water from the well, so she may be here awhile.  That’s ok, because Jackson Rancheria will still be here to help.

“It’s not over until it’s over,” Rich says.  “We will continue on assisting and helping.  The evacuation is just the first step.  The tribe will be here every step of the way.”

“It’s the culture the tribe created,” Bill keeps saying.  “This is our community.  We take care of each other.”

That care extends beyond just the tribe.  It’s evident in the way the evacuees are treated as guests of a fine resort.  From the chefs in white coats checking on the chaffing dishes, to the security personnel roaming the halls, everyone is kind, smiling, and offering support.  “It’s our culture,” the staff says.  “It’s how we were raised.”  It’s the same answer I get from all the team members.  The story never changes.

Rich can tell that I am still baffled at why a company would feed people, give them free lodging, provide shuttle service and tokens for laundry.  And he’s right.  Why not just write a check like so many of our generous supporters do?  I finally get an answer that makes sense.  He explains that the concept of prestige is different in the Native American culture than in the Western culture.  Prestige in a Western culture is judged by the Donald Trump types, measured by what a person owns.  In the Native American culture prestige is earned by who you can provide for.  This seems perfectly poignant for those who may have lost everything they own.

Before Terri Lutz heads off to work today she will first stop off to care for evacuated animals of friends from her community.  It’s her way of giving back, and in my new perspective, building her own prestige.

Red Cross and KCRA3 To Host a California Wildfires Telethon Tomorrow

OKC_telethon16
KCRA
has once more stepped up to support the American Red Cross and our local communities!

Currently, the American Red Cross is helping more than 1,130 people at 7 shelters across Northern California that have been affected by the Rough, Butte and Valley Fires.

At the shelters, Red Cross volunteers are providing meals, personal hygiene items, cleaning supplies, health services such as replacing medications and eyeglasses and emotional support for the people affected by the fires.

The telethon is scheduled for tomorrow, Tuesday, September 15 from 4:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. on KCRA3, with a cut-over to MY58 from 7:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Help people affected by the California Wildfires. Your donation enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from these disasters.OKC_telethon15

The telethon number to make a donation is: 800-513-3333 and it will be staffed by Red Cross volunteers and corporate partners.

We have some exciting check presentations by our wonderful community partners!

And this just in! Salem Communications and I Heart Radio have begun promoting the telethon in their radio programming! (KKFS- the Fish, 1380AM-The Answer, 710AM KFIA, 105.5FM and I-Heart Radio Modesto!) 

Thank you to everyone who has been calling to help!

PS. If you are not able to call during the telethon, you can donate to the California Wildfires to the Gold Country Region of the American Red Cross:

  • Mail in  your donation to: American Red Cross Gold Country Region | Attention: Laura Thompson | 1565 Exposition Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95815
  • Call: Laura Thompson, r | 916-993-7080 | Please note, this is a recording, please leave a message and Laura will call you back to ask for your donation which will be designated to the California Wildfires.

American Red Cross Establishes Public Information Line in Response to the Butte Fire

ButteFire-ABC10Jackson, CA – Saturday, September 12, 2015 – The American Red Cross has established a public information line for inquiries from the public regarding Red Cross services during the Butte Fire.

The number to call is: (925)588-6678. The phone number is being staffed by a Red Cross volunteer. If you get a busy signal, we ask for your patience and to call back.

The three emergency evacuation shelters established by the Red Cross are located at:

Calaveras County

  • Good Samaritan Church, 4684 Baldwin St, Valley Springs
  • Jenny Lynn Veterans Hall, 189 Pine Street, Valley Springs

Amador County

  • Jackson Rancheria Hotel and Resort – 12222 New York Ranch Rd, Jackson

IN-KIND DONATIONS

We appreciate the good intentions of people who want to donate items, but financial donations are the quickest and best way to get help to the people who need it most.

The Red Cross isn’t equipped to handle a large influx of donations such as household items, clothing or food that may or may not be useful to victims as it takes time and money to store, sort and distribute donated items. If community members still like to donate goods, we recommend they contact other organizations in their community and inquire if they are accepting donations.  

“Financial donations allow us to be flexible in the help we deliver and ensure that we can provide what disaster victims need most,” said Lilly Wyatt, Director of Regional Communications with the American Red Cross Gold Country Region. “Donating is simple, just call 1-800-Red Cross or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.”

All Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people.

American Red Cross Responds to the Needs of Butte Fire Evacuees

Safe and Well Website Activated To Bring Peace of Mind

Sacramento, CA – September 10, 2015 – The American Red Cross has opened three emergency shelters in Amador and Calaveras counties to assist those affected by the explosive Butte Fire.  Currently, more than 200 people have registered at just one of the shelters and dozens of Red Cross staff and volunteers are providing warm meals, a safe place to sleep and emotional support for those with immediate, disaster-caused needs.

As of 10:00pm today, the following Red Cross managed or supported shelters are open:

Amador County

Jackson Rancheria Hotel and Resort – 12222 New York Ranch Rd, Jackson, CA 95642

Calaveras County

San Andreas Town Hall – 24 Church Hill Rd, San Andreas, CA 95249

Calaveras County Fairgrounds – 101 Frogtown Road, Angels Camp, CA 95222

“We sympathize with the individuals that we serve,” said Lilly Wyatt, Director of Regional Communications for the Red Cross Gold Country Region. “Red Cross disaster teams are helping now and will continue to help as long as we need to.”

SAFE AND WELL

Disasters often make it difficult to stay in touch with loved ones. The American Red Cross Safe and Well website is a central location for people in disaster areas in the United States to register their current status, and for their loved ones to access that information. It helps provide displaced families with relief and comfort during a stressful time.

If individuals are currently being affected by the Butte Fire, they need to register as “safe and well.” If individuals are concerned about a loved one affected by the Butte Fire, they need to Search Registrants.

Safe and Well is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and is accessible in both English and Spanish.

THE THREAT ISN’T OVER

The Red Cross urges communities throughout California to get prepared for what will likely be a long and severe wildfire season. The Red Cross urges residents to follow all evacuation orders from local enforcement and be prepared for disasters like wildfires. All families should have an emergency game plan for disasters large and small. Make sure your home has an emergency kit ready to go at a moment’s notice.

Click here to learn more about preparing for and responding to wildfires.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

All Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people.

Help people affected by disasters like wildfires and countless other crises by making a gift to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit redcross.org/donate, or call 1-800-REDCROSS.

About the American Red Cross Gold Country Region
Founded in 1898, the Gold Country Region of the American Red Cross serves 4.4 million people in Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, El Dorado, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Tuolumne, Yolo, and Yuba counties. The Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission.

For more information, visit our website, or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

American Red Cross Launches New Digital Emergency Services Tool for Military Families

Washington D.C., Thursday, September 10, 2015 — The American Red Cross is launching a new digital tool that gives military families the option to quickly communicate an emergency message from a computer, tablet or smartphone at redcross.org/HeroCareNetwork. This secure and free service will also let users track the progress of an emergency message from verification through delivery.

“On a consistent basis, more than 110,000 military families reach out to the American Red Cross for emergency assistance each year,” said Koby J. Langley, senior vice president of Service to the Armed Forces, American Red Cross. That’s approximately 300 military families per day. This new online tool, designed for today’s military family, offers a better and more efficient way to serve our military community during their time of need.”

A military member or a member of their family needing to initiate an emergency message can go to redcross.org/HeroCareNetwork or call 877-272-7337. After a message is started online, a highly-trained emergency communication specialist will begin the emergency verification process required to deliver it to the military member’s command. During the verification process, the requester will receive status updates.

“It’s important to remember that people can always speak to a Red Cross worker at anytime during the process,” said Langley. “Regardless of how families initiate an emergency message, military members can depend on the Red Cross to relay urgent messages to service members serving anywhere in the world.”

For more information regarding Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces visit redcross.org/military. Also, take a minute to read our Hero Care Network FAQs.