Donor Spotlight – McDonald’s Mother Lode Bringing out the pies to help families of the Butte Fire.

 

It has been a little over five months since the Butte Fire ravaged through the hills and neighborhoods of Calaveras and Amador counties. While those communities continue their recovery process, community members and businesses like McDonalds in the Mother Lode are still gathering the donations they received from their customers.

When the fire erupted that September 9 last year, Dennis Graspointner, McDonald’s owner/operator of the store in the Mother Lode called his local Red Cross to offer support.

He gathered his team of employees and his supervisor Ron Richards to come up with a unique fundraiser to assist those affected by the wildfire.

ButteFire_McDonalds
Mc Donald’s Mother Lode Team – Owner/operator Dennis Graspointer is in the middle and supervisor Ron Richards is to the far right. 

They thought…  “What is America’s favorite thing?” The All American Apple Pie, of course! Therefore, they kicked off a campaign where all proceeds from the purchase of pies would benefit the fire victims of the California Wildfires.

As soon as the campaign began, it was a hit in the community.

“Customers came by just for the pies, to help their friends and neighbors who had been evacuated,” says Dennis Graspointer.

Five months later, Liza Cruz, one of our major gift officers went by the store to say hello and to find out how the drive was going. “When I arrived the employees were so happy to have Red Cross there,” smiles Liza. “I was honored to be with such compassionate people.”

The pie sales raised more than $6000 dollars!

“McDonald’s is proud to be able to help, we benefited from the generosity of the customers, and they bought large quantities of pies, so thank you!” exclaimed Dennis.

The American Red Cross was able to help residents in Amador and Calaveras affected by the Butte Fire. Thanks to your generous support, we were able to:

  • Open 5 shelters providing over 1,750 overnight stays;
  • Serve more than 33, 000 meals and snacks;
  • Hand out 23,500 relief items, like comfort kits and clean up kits containing shovels, gloves and more;
  • And open 430 cases to provide one-on-one support to residents.

But, that’s not all; we continue to be in Calaveras and Amador counties to offer assistance to those affected by the fire with the recovery team “Calaveras Recovers.”

 

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FAQ: Valley and Butte Wildfire Recovery

faq-post-pictureAs families re-enter their neighborhoods, many are asking how to stay safe, where to go, and what the next steps are as they map out their road to recovery.

We have gathered some resources to help answer a few of the most commonly asked questions the Red Cross is receiving from those affected by the California Wildfires. The following information has been developed with guidance from CalFire, California Environmental Protection Agency, California Department of Public Health, Calaveras County,  and Lake County, California.

Please note that all Red Cross services are free.

Q: How do I know when it’s safe to return to my property?

A: Do not re-enter your property until fire officials say it’s safe to do so. Check the CalFire website for most recent updates. Keep your skin covered by wearing long pants, sleeves, gloves and masks while sifting through debris to keep ash and any toxic chemicals away. Use caution when entering burned areas as hazards may still exist, including hot spots which can flare up without warning.

Q: Is the water safe to drink?

A: Consult your local drinking water provider or check with your county officials to ensure the water is safe to drink. Wash any home-grown fruit or vegetables from trees or gardens before eating.

Q: Can I eat the food that was kept in my refrigerator?

A: If you were evacuated and/or without power, dispose of any food left in your refrigerator. Make sure to sterilize the interior and exterior of your refrigerator and freezer thoroughly before storing food when electricity has been restored to avoid contamination.

Q:  Where do I dispose of garbage if there are no trash facilities in my area?

A: Do NOT dispose of ash or fire debris in dumpsters or garbage bins, as it may contain hazardous waste. Cleaning products, paint, batteries and damaged fuel containers need to be disposed of properly to avoid risk.  Shop vacuums and other non-HEPA filter vacuums are not recommended to clean up ash. HEPA filter vacuums could be used, if available.  Calaveras County has a debris cleanup effort in place. Lake County is developing a debris plan; please continue to check http://www.co.lake.ca.us.

Q: How do I protect myself when cleaning up ash?

A: Wear a mask, gloves, long sleeved shirts and long pants to avoid ash contact with skin, as it may cause irritation. If you get ash on your skin, wash it off as soon as possible. Some wet ash can cause chemical burns. Do not use leaf blowers as they will cause ash to disperse in the air.

Q: Is it safe to allow my kids and pets near ash?

A: Keep children and pets away from ash and do not allow them to play near ash pits.  Wash toys thoroughly before children play with them. Hidden embers and hot spots could burn your pets’ paws or hooves.

Q: How do I stay healthy during the recovery and clean up process?

A: Cleaning, sorting and sifting through debris can be strenuous and emotionally taxing. If you experience chest tightness or pain, shortness of breath, or dizziness, seek medical care immediately. Some ash may cause chemical burns when it becomes wet on the skin. Make sure to pay close attention to children and the health and emotional impacts your family may be feeling.

Q: Where can I find additional resources on getting disaster recovery assistance?

A:  You can register with the Red Cross for immediate relief needs. To do so, please talk directly with a Red Cross caseworker at a local assistance center, chapter location or call 855-224-2490. Please note that signing in at a Red Cross shelter does not qualify as officially registering for disaster relief assistance.

Those who registered with the American Red Cross for wildfire assistance need to also register separately with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at 800-621-3362. Registering with FEMA is required to be considered for federal assistance, even if you have registered with another disaster relief organization such as the American Red Cross, the state, local officials or churches.  The Red Cross and FEMA are separate entities that treat client information as confidential.

Youth Gardens Help Feed Families in Aftermath of Butte Fire

Red Cross joins the effort to get school garden veggies to families in need

Students from Toyon Middle School in Valley Springs donated their harvest to fire victims.
Students from Toyon Middle School in Valley Springs donated their harvest to fire victims.

So many people and organizations have stepped up these last two in weeks as the Butte Fire burned more than 70,000 acres in Calaveras and Amador Counties, destroying over 500 homes and evacuating thousands from their homes for days on end.
“We wanted to help too,” said Zach Guillemin a Railroad Flat Resident and 8th grader at Toyon Middle school in the garden and landscaping class.

“I know a lot of families up where we live that lost their gardens in the fire, and we thought maybe we could give them some of the vegetables we are growing in our school garden since they aren’t able to grow them anymore,” Guillemin said.

With the wheels set in motion, many organizations stepped up to support the effort.  The American Red Cross, The Resource Connection Food Bank, The UCCE Central Sierra, Calaveras Unified School District, Gardens to Grow In, Community Emergency Response Teams, FoodCorps, Calaveras FFA and many community partners all jumped on board to help make this happen.

IMG958643For the last two weeks all of the vegetables that are being harvested from the Calaveras High School Farm, Toyon Middle School and many of the elementary school gardens have been given directly to those affected by the fire.

“It is has been great to see so many of the students so excited to help, and feel like that are able to do something valuable for this community,” said Lucas Hill, a FoodCorps service member who serves at the Calaveras High School Farm and Gold Strike High School.  “Being new to this community, I have been so impressed by the youth and organizations that have mobilized to make this a reality.”

In addition to harvesting the vegetables and getting them distributed to families in need, Hill also helped lead a cooking session in the Valley Springs Elementary School Garden for Oakendell students who had been evacuated to the gym, and held a garden activity day for children and families evacuated to the campgrounds with FoodCorps service member Emily Metzger.

Food harvested from the gardens has been given to the Resource Connection Food Bank and American Red Cross for distribution and given directly to families at the school sites.

“These are the kinds of things that make us all feel so good inside,” said Marti Crane, long time Red Cross Volunteer and Calaveras County resident.  “When I heard that the schools were needing a way to get these veggies to the families, we saw a great opportunity for collaboration.  The youth in our community are amazing and we are so happy we have been able to help them fulfill their vision of feeding these families with these wonderful vegetables they have put so much time and love into growing.”

In all, over 300 pounds of vegetables grown at the Calaveras High School Farm and school gardens has been given away the last two weeks

“We plan to continue giving away the vegetables we are growing as long as there is a need,” said Guillemin. “It feels good to be able to provide something as foundational as healthy food for those that need it,” he added.

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.

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.