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.

Butte Fire – Stories from the Front Lines

Author: Rich Woodruff, Deployed from Salt Lake City, Utah

Rich visits one of the home sites ravaged by the Butte Fire
                              Rich Woodruff surveys one of the home sites ravaged by the Butte Fire

The Red Cross Story at the Butte fire is not a single story, but many stories as communities, government, interfaith communities and businesses come together during times of crisis.  The media has played a critical role in disseminating information to the public and raising funds for the Red Cross through telethons and other campaigns.

MobileFeedings2The Red Cross has been distributing cleaning supplies and food at many areas affected by the Butte Fire. Just yesterday, when our emergency response vehicle was arriving to one of the areas that was blackened by the fire, people camping on their decimated property began wandering down from the hills in dire need of food, clothing, bedding, batteries, diapers, dog food … the list goes on and on.

Red Cross volunteers were there to greet them with a warm smile, hugs and more. Our mission there was twofold: to distribute relief and clean up supplies as well as serving lunch prepared by the Southern Baptist remote kitchen in nearby San Andreas.  The kitchen cooks thousands of meals a day and Red Cross ERVs (Emergency Response Vehicles) get them to the people where they are since most have lost their transportation.  Today’s lunch was chicken fingers, potato salad and homemade banana pudding.  The food was fresh and warm thanks to the special insulation containers used in the ERV’s.20150920_130752

One story that really touched me was the story of Mary from the Mountain Ranch area. Mary had not eaten in two days and was scouring the makeshift store for diapers, bedding, clean clothes and just basic needs like toiletries.   She also was asking about burn cream for her cat that had wandered on to the smoldering ashes of her property.  I quickly joined her rummaging through boxes finally coming upon some Aloe Vera.  At this time, her pet’s needs were more important to her than her own needs. She rushed to put some of the aloe vera on her cat… we waited and invited her to eat some food. While she was eating, Mary shared her story and appreciation for our immediate concern and help. A few minutes later, a line was forming behind the Red Cross supply truck full of rakes, garbage bags, gloves, buckets, dust masks and other clean-up supplies.

Another person affected by the Butte Fire, showed up with another specific need. Bob, was asking if we had any sifters and thanks to the generosity of Ace Hardware we actually did.

Ace Hardware donated 2×4’s and screens and Red Cross volunteers built more than 600 sifters so that they can be distributed during our routes to the affected area.  Bob had heard of people finding valuables and was hopeful to do the same.  In our efforts to take care of first things first, it’s easy to overlook the importance of a mailbox key or the emotional boost a retrieved precious family heirloom would provide.

Recovering from a disaster takes time and the Red Cross will be working alongside partners in the community to deliver aid for months to come.

We were here before this disaster, during and will remain after, because that’s what we do.

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 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.

Help on the Ground and From Six Thousand Miles Away

Typhoon Soundelor destroyed homes, toppled trees and snapped utility poles on the 48-square mile island of Saipan. The island is close to six thousand miles away from Stanislaus County, but distance doesn’t play a role in how the Red Cross provides assistance to the people affected by this disaster.

As part of a new virtual deployment program, Red Cross volunteers from this region are now helping people affected by natural disasters across the country and around the world without ever leaving their homes.

KathyPascoe1
Volunteer Kathy Pascoe has been serving and helping our communities through the American Red Cross for 21 years. Thank you Kathy!!

Kathy Pascoe lives in Ceres.  She has been a volunteer with the Red Cross for 21 years and is part of the Disaster Action Team that responds to local disasters. Kathy is trained in health services, nursing and client case work, among other things.

From her home in Stanislaus County, Kathy is helping process paperwork online for families affected by the tropical storm. Those documents are necessary to get funding and other resources approved for the disaster victims. This is a more cost-effective way of offering assistance.

“Typhoon Soudelor is the biggest storm to hit Saipan in 30 years, and the situation is desperate,” said Kathy Pascoe, Red Cross Volunteer.  “Being virtually deployed is a great opportunity for volunteers that either can’t take time off from work to deploy, or for family reasons… they can still help those in need.

Kathy has done more than 200 case reviews from the comfort of her own home, for both the Typhoon and a month earlier for the flooding disaster in Texas.

The Red Cross responded immediately to support sheltering, feeding and damage assessment efforts by deploying numerous volunteers to this part of the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands shortly after the typhoon. We opened close to 1000 cases and provided over 22,000 meals and snacks, more than 2,000 health and mental health contacts and over 38,500 emergency relief items to the residents affected by this disaster.

Because of the extensive damage, the Red Cross created a robust relief plan to get immediate help to people who need it. The virtual support program delivers financial assistance with critical supplies to help people leave emergency shelters and begin recovering from Soudelor.

How You Can Help

Residents can help people affected by disasters like Typhoon Soudelor 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. Go online or call 1-800-REDCROSS.

You can also become a Red Cross Volunteer. Like Kathy, you can train to help virtually and / or respond locally. Search now for opportunities to volunteer – we are always looking for people with various backgrounds, talents, and skill levels.

Disaster Operations Report – Week of August 24, 2015

Gold Country Region – Local Incident Details

This Week
17 Incidents
131 Clients

This Year
125 Incidents
1155 Clients

Mon, Aug 24 – Sacramento, CA (Sacramento – 16-155)
Incident: Fire Impact: 3 Units, 5 Adults, 4 Children
Responders: 2 Services Provided: Housing and Food

Mon, Aug 24 – Sacramento, CA (Sacramento – 16-157)
Incident: Fire Impact: 1 Unit, 2 Adults, 4 Children
Responders: 2 Services Provided: Housing, Food, and Clothing

Tue, Aug 25 – Weaverville, CA (Trinity – 16-158)
Incident: Fire Impact: 5 Adults
Responders: 1 Services Provided: Client Snacks and Canteened Clients

Wed, Aug 26 – Redding, CA (Shasta – 16-161)
Incident: Fire Impact: 3 Units, 10 Adults, 5 Children
Responders: 4 Services Provided: Housing, Food, Clothing, and Medication

Wed, Aug 26 – Chico, CA (Butte – 16-164)
Incident: Fire Impact: 3 Units, 4 Adults
Responders: 2 Services Provided: Housing, Food, Clothing, and Medication

Wed, Aug 26 – Stockton, CA (San Joaquin – 16-165)
Incident: Fire Impact: 1 Unit, 2 Adults
Responders: 2 Services Provided: Housing, Food, and Clothing

Wed, Aug 26 – Sacramento, CA (Sacramento – 16-166)
Incident: Fire Impact: 1 Unit, 1 Adult
Responders: 3 Services Provided: Housing, Food, and Clothing

Wed, Aug 26 – Modesto, CA (Stanislaus – 16-167)
Incident: Fire Impact: 1 Unit, 3 Adults
Responders: 2 Services Provided: Housing and Food

Thu, Aug 27 – Mi-Wuk Village, CA (Tuolumne – 16-168)
Incident: Fire Impact: 3 Units, 4 Adults, 4 Children
Responders: 2 Services Provided: Housing, Food, Clothing, Medication, and Mental Health

Thu, Aug 27 – Mi-Wuk Village, CA (Tuolumne – 16-169)
Incident: Fire Impact: 1 Unit, 1 Adult, 1 Child
Responders: 1 Services Provided: Food, Clothing, and Translation

Thu, Aug 27 – Oroville, CA (Butte – 16-170)
Incident: Fire Impact: 1 Unit, 2 Adults
Responders: 2 Services Provided: Housing and Food

Thu, Aug 27 – Sacramento, CA (Sacramento – 16-171)
Incident: Fire Impact: 1 Unit, 3 Adults, 1 Child
Responders: 2 Services Provided: Housing, Food, and Clothing

Thu, Aug 27 – Live Oak, CA (Sutter – 16-172)
Incident: Fire Impact: 1 Unit, 5 Adults, 2 Children
Responders: 2 Services Provided: Housing, Food, and Clothing

Fri, Aug 28 – Stockton, CA (San Joaquin – 16-174)
Incident: Fire Impact: 2 Units, 5 Adults, 1 Child
Responders: 2 Services Provided: Housing, Food, and Clothing

Fri, Aug 28 – Turlock, CA (Stanislaus – 16-175)
Incident: Fire Impact: 1 Unit, 45 Adults, 45 First responders
Responders: 4 Services Provided: Food and Canteened Responders

Fri, Aug 28 – Portola, CA (Plumas – 16-176)
Incident: Fire Impact: 2 Units, 4 Adults, 3 Children
Responders: 2 Services Provided: Food and Clothing

Sun, Aug 30 – Sacramento, CA (Sacramento – 16-181)
Incident: Fire Impact: 1 Unit, 2 Adults, 3 Children
Responders: 2 Services Provided: Housing, Food, and Clothing

Incident Statistics
Responders
Responders Active: 29
Responder Travel: 960 miles

Resources For Clients
Comfort Kits: 37
Toys: 10
Blankets: 9

Deployments
There are no deployments on record at this time.

Pillowcase Project on Fox40 News!

Ten years ago, Hurricane Katrina gave birth to a wonderful project for children – The Pillowcase Project. This preparedness education program for 3rd through 5th grade students teaches about personal and family preparedness, local hazards, and basic coping skills.

During the 10th Anniversary of Katrina, Red Cross chapters across the nation have been participating in the World’s Largest Pillowcase Projects to increase awareness of this unique project. The Gold Country region kicked off this event at Prairie Elementary School in Elk Grove.

We were so thrilled to have Fox40 showcasing the project, the students and our volunteers LIVE on the air and later on in their evening newscast. Below you can see the piece in their 6PM News.

Four Fun Facts About the Pillowcase Project:

  1. The Red Cross Pillowcase Project began in New Orleans after the disaster, where volunteers reached out to children in the community who remembered Katrina’s fury and remained afraid of storms.
  2. The Red Cross took the lead in talking with them about disasters and loss, about rebuilding their lives starting with a pillowcase and a plan. Children began to feel the strength that comes from being prepared.
  3. In the past 10 years, the Pillowcase Project has expanded to hundreds communities across the United States to help children better plan for their future. And it all begins with a pillowcase.
  4. In the Gold Country Region, we have shared the Pillowcase Project with more than 3600 students.

Check out pictures from the day on our Flickr Album.

Red Cross Responds to Multiple Wildfires Throughout Northern California

A large flare-up from the Wragg Fire is seen in a photograph taken in rural Solano County, California on July 28, 2015. (Photo credit: Matthew Keys)
A large flare-up from the Wragg Fire is seen in a photograph taken in rural Solano County, California on July 28, 2015. (Photo credit: Matthew Keys)

SACRAMENTO, CA (July 31, 2015) The American Red Cross Gold Country Region has spent the last several days responding to multiple wildfires throughout Northern California.  Thankfully, we’re ready to respond at a moment’s notice and we are prepared for what could be one of the worst wildfire seasons  that California has experienced.

“We know this is just a sneak peek into how bad the fires could be this season” said Lilly Wyatt, American Red Cross Communications Director. “With the extreme drought we’ve been experiencing for four years, we know the threat is there and we are ready to respond and assist our community.”

WRAGG FIRE
The Wragg Fire, which began on Wednesday, July 22, forced multiple evacuations around Solano and Yolo Counties. The Red Cross set up an evacuation center at the Winters Community Center, 201 Railroad Ave, Winters, CA, where evacuated residents can received lodging, meals, comfort and information. We accommodated five residents overnight, but had more than 20 fluctuating throughout the day as residents come and go.

KYBURZ FIRE
Thursday July 23, more Red Cross volunteers were called into action to set up an evacuation center at the Pollock Pines-Camino Community Center, 2675 Sanders Drive, Pollock Pines, CA. for resident impacted by the Kybrurz Fire, which closed both directions of Highway 50. We

LOWELL FIRE
The Lowell Fire at the Nevada/Placer county lines exploded just as the Kyburz Fire was easing on Saturday, July 25 around 3pm. We opened a shelter in Grass Valley to support Nevada Country residents.  Eleven residents stayed at the shelter overnight and another 15 persons staying in the parking lot of the High School in camper’s cars and motorhomes.  Red Cross provided breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks to 25 people while the shelter was opened.

SWEDE’S FLAT FIRE
​In the morning of Wednesday, July 29 another wild land fire erupted, this time in Butte County. Local government requested the Red Cross to set up an Evacuation Center and we were able to have it available within a couple of hours at the Church of the Nazarene in Oroville CA. The evacuation center quickly transitioned into a full shelter to house seven individuals overnight.

CHINA, HAPPY AND MALLARD FIRES
Three different blazes sparked in Shasta County the evening of July 29. Although small in acreage they were threatening multiple homes and the Red Cross established a shelter at Anderson High School.

BIG CREEK FIRE
Also on July 29 a vegetation fire in the Groveland Area of Tuolumne County began burning heavy timber. The fire spread quickly and 65 homes were evacuated. At 8:00pm, Red Cross staff and volunteers established the evacuation center at Groveland Community Hall to have it ready for those who needed a comfortable place to rest.

In 2014, we responded to dozens of wildfires, more than ever before and 2015 is shaping up to be as bad as last year,” said Wyatt. “From July 1 to the end of September we had at least one shelter open except for just 18 hours.”

BE PREPARED
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 TO HELP
Become a volunteer or make a donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your donations can help provide shelter for someone who has had to leave their home and food and water for them to eat. Help people affected by disasters like wildfires, earthquakes, floods, tornadoes and countless other crises by making a gift to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. To donate, people can visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Courtesy of Wayne Freedman @WayneFreedman
Courtesy of Wayne Freedman @WayneFreedman

Three Months Later: Red Cross Recovery Efforts Ongoing in Nepal

RC in Nepal

 

Three months have passed since the devastating earthquake rocked Nepal and its aftershocks shook surrounding locations. The Red Cross is still there providing relief and helping to rebuild.

On April 25, 2015 Nepal was severely impacted by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake, which took the lives of many and left others homeless and in a state of helplessness.

ifrc-nepal-earthquake-infographic
Click the Infographic to enlarge

5.6 million people were affected, and of that number 17,932 people were injured and 8,856 people were killed. On top of the loss of lives 543,034 houses were destroyed.

To date nearly 8,000 Red Cross volunteers and staff have been deployed, and more than $13.6 million have been spent or committed to emergency relief and shelter and cash distribution.

With generous support and donations we have provided health services including medical care, first aid and psychosocial support; we’ve distributed more than 2.8 million liters of safe water, and more than 7,000 relief kits and hygiene kits have been distributed to Nepal survivors.

 This natural disaster was one of the largest to strike Nepal since 1934, and we will continue to do all that we can to assist with the restoration and rebuild of Nepal. Our primary areas of focus are food, water, shelter, health care and cash grants.

We are confident that we can extend our hand to aid in relief efforts.

Read some of the stories of the people impacted by this disaster: http://rdcrss.org/1E3Hjiy

 

A Full Circle Moment

Thanks to Fox40 for sharing the work that we do at the American Red Cross and thanks to the Girl Scouts for putting extra love in making the kits.

We would like to share this special ‘full circle moment” that showcases how our work is impacting people every day.

Email from Jennifer Loncaric
Subject: What we do works. 

“I thought you might like this. That’s a note my daughter wrote when she helped make comfort kits with Jasmine a few months ago. The girl holding it was also there helping that day. She is Trina’s (my co-leader) step-daughter. Their house was burnt early Sunday morning after a mortar hit the front porch. We don’t know how long they will be displaced, but the Red Cross visited them today with some help. It’s a beautiful thing to see the joy on her face from something so small in such a tragic time for her family. I am overwhelmed with emotion knowing my girls have had such a local and personal impact.”

Thanks to the kind efforts of local girl scout troops, many families struck by home fires have received useful Red Cross Comfort Kits during such a stressful time in their lives. Jasmine Su an HSS instructor and Girl Scout troop leader helped to create these kits through the help of her troops. Here is a picture of one of her troop members holding a very heartfelt message which was addressed to the family that suffered from the tragedy.

We take much pleasure in sharing this moment to demonstrate the positive support of these young ladies during times of stress.