This page will be updated regularly with information on ways to help the victims of the Camp Fire in Paradise, CA. See below for detailed communications from the diaconate (Mercy and Care team).
What you can do now:
(updated November 25, 2018)
- Make a monetary donation to our sister church, Ridge Presbyterian, which was severely impacted by the fire. Donate at https://ridgepresbyterian.org/camp-fire/
- Send gift cards (Winco, Trader Joe’s, Costco, Safeway, Target, Walmart) to Becca Wion at 1454 Sheridan Ave., Apt 3, Chico, CA 95926. She will distribute them to families from Ridge Presbyterian and the surrounding community.
- As of 11/25/18, Grace Sacramento has collected $7,340 for Ridge Presbyterian Church. Please see the cover letter from Pastor Brad below that will be sent to our brothers and sisters at Ridge Pres.
November 25, 2018 (from Pastor Brad to Ridge Presbyterian Church):
To our brothers and sisters at Ridge Presbyterian Church,
We are grateful for the recent visit and report from your Assistant Pastor Bryan Laws and the ongoing updates regarding your well being. There is great rejoicing here for the safety of every Ridge family and for encouragement that you all have a place to worship together at the Vespers in the Valley facility in Chico.
On behalf of believers in the hope of Christ here at Grace Sacramento and across the country I am sending these gifts as a material token of our fervent prayer and deep broken heartedness on your behalf in light of the recent tragic Camp Fire in your beloved Paradise. The response to this opportunity to help you has been overwhelming during our weekly offering and online. It is a sign of our love for you and given in confidence that our God will multiply these gifts as you use them to bring the hope of the gospel to those in need around you and in your congregation.
As we pray for you we remember these words from Psalm 107:
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever!
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
whom he has redeemed from trouble
Some wandered in desert wastes,
finding no way to a city to dwell in;
hungry and thirsty,
their soul fainted within them.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
He led them by a straight way
till they reached a city to dwell in.
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!
For he satisfies the longing soul,
and the hungry soul he fills with good things.
May your souls find satisfaction in Him,
On behalf of Grace Sacramento
November 14, 2018 (from Becca Wion):
Hi church family,
I know many of you have been shocked and heart broken by the stories of the Camp Fire. Please know, that "I thank my God every time I remember you". We feel the love, support and prayers.
My Family's Camp Fire Story:
My family (my parents, sister, and our two exchange students) have lived in 3 different homes since Thursday. Others from my church family had similar experiences, sleeping in their cars, I've seen people in tents, many in motels as far as Redding. My dad was at work when the fire began to spread, my mom, sister, and our two exchange students were getting ready for the day. Evacuations have happened before in Paradise. In 2008, we had a full day to pack things. The 2018 Camp Fire 'warning' happened for my family when my mom dropped off our exchange students to catch the local Butte Community College bus at the bus stop in Paradise. There was ash everywhere and they had difficulty breathing. The bus driver told them the buses were not running any more. The bus driver seemed apprehensive about the fire. My mom had the girls pack a bag and started putting our photo albums in the car. The sky became black and my mom got a text from a lady from our church saying they were leaving, they live a half mile from us. My mom and my sister drove separately and drove down a side road that leads to Highway 99 and it took them an hour to get to Chico (it usually takes 20 minutes). They were so thankful to not be threatened by the fire. Many people would go down that road an hour later surrounded by flames. Thankfully my family left before that, but many families from my church experienced rushing into their car and driving a mile toward the main road, which took 4 hours. Many had flames surround them. Two families from my church told me they sang worship songs, read scripture, prayed, told their kids they loved them and prepared for the worst. Thanks be to God those families made it out, but many have similar stories who did not make it out. My heart grieves for them. At this time all of our Ridge church family is accounted for and we praise God for our safety.
Where we are now:
At this time my family is financially stable. My parents lost our family home. I have my apartment in Chico so they were able to stay with me the first night of the Fire. We are among the fortunate people who have family in the area. Also, several of our church families from Chico have left early for Thanksgiving. They have offered up their homes to several Paradise families as temporary housing. We are staying across the street from the Condits (a family from our church who we have been close to since the birth of their oldest son James who was born with Spina Bifida). Every moment is filled with decisions and shock and praise. Lots of emotions going on over here, but in it all we are reminded that life and things are temporary and community, Christ, and family are so precious and needed. As an old hymn states: "On Christ the solid rock we stand, all other ground is sinking sand."
How to help:
I have gotten so many texts asking about ways to help. Honestly, the need is overwhelming. People have been donating clothing, which is SO helpful, but we don't have a place for all the stuff. Don't get me wrong, we WILL need those things in the months to come as each family finds more permanent living places, but right now there is no space. SO what is helpful right now? I have been telling people to send me gift cards (Winco, Trader Joes, Costco, Safeway, Target, Wal Mart) so I can give them to people in from paradise church and the surrounding community (1454 Sheridan Ave., apt 3, Chico, CA 95926). But below our Pastor sent a link where you can give directly to our church and below that our links to specific families in our congregation. Give as you are lead. Also, please pray. Pray for wisdom for our school district in Chico to support Paradise families and Paradise district. Pray for those who have no job at this time, that they would find jobs easily. Pray for housing, that the city of Chico would create long lasting solutions. Pray for patience for all involved as this is not a problem that will be quickly remedied.
Financial Donations for Fire Relief:
From our Pastor Josh: "I wanted to let y'all know that we have just today established a Fire Relief Fund accessible through the RidgePresbyterian website. I have been getting a lot of requests for info of how to give through our church, and perhaps you have too. You can let people know that this is now available through our giving page online. Here is the direct link: https://ridgepresbyterian.org/camp-fire/ "
The Matoguinas: Recently married, Lauren came home with baby Malachi the day before the fire. They lost everything. You can donate on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/donate/343255522915736/10156088900880186/
The Condit Family: have three boys. There oldest James (12 years old), has spina bifida, I used to babysit him when I lived in Paradise:
The Wrights: have kids the same ages as my nephews and are good friends with my brother and sister-n-law:
So much love to you all,
November 14, 2018 (from the Grace Sacramento Diaconate):
Dear Friends of Grace Sacramento ~
Thank you to many for your donations this past weekend to the relief efforts for the victims of the Camp Fire in Paradise. A carload of items was delivered to two facilities, including the Yuba-Sutter Fairgrounds evacuation center, and were gratefully received and some items immediately distributed!
We know that many of you are still desiring to contribute to relief efforts for fire victims in Paradise. At this time, organizers of the key relief efforts in the area are requesting monetary donations (including gift cards) over material goods (see below for more info on why*). To that end, we recommend the following ways you can provide assistance to those in need:
- Support our sister church, Ridge Presbyterian brothers and sisters by donating via our online link: https://www.wearegracesac.org/give-
- Purchase gift cards to the following: Wal Mart, Target, Save Mart, Food Maxx, Winco, Big Lots, gas station cards, Lowe's, Home Depot. Bring them to church on Sunday, or mail them to Kris Glass, Grace Sacramento, 2958 59th Street, Sacramento, Ca. 95817. We will save these and provide them to Ridge Presbyterian, and/or deliver them to the local Habitat for Humanity office or official collection center on an ongoing basis.
- Donate directly to the Camp Fire relief effort via the Yuba County Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pg/YubaCounty/posts/.
Please know that as organizers continue to respond to this disaster, their needs may change. We will update you with changes as we are made aware of them. Thank you for your love and care for the fire victims.
Often, the greatest need comes long after the initial crisis is over! That is when the real work begins. Many will need ongoing support and assistance in the months to come.
- Please consider gift cards to Lowe's, Home Depot, your local Hardware Supply Merchant these gift cards will be used to purchase essential items in the coming months for individuals to use when the initial clean-up begins. Clearing property after a fire is a tremendous undertaking and clean-up equipment can become very costly. Gift cards are extremely helpful!
- Consider a donation to a well-known merchant where people can purchase work boots, gloves, and related wear that can be used during clean-up.
Why can't you accept my used or gently used items?
- Survivors do not have the ability to easily launder or store clothing
- We don't have the manpower to sort through donations; clean items of clothing; or have storage capabilities at the evacuation sites
- A lot of times we receive items that are not usable and have to be disposed of. Receiving a donation of leftover garage sale items or a mish-mosh of items from last year's spring cleaning are not helpful! However, if we know of a family that has a specific need, we will make a direct ask and may consider used items.
Please follow our Facebook page for up-to-date posts and community information regarding this disaster response effort.
Thank you for your continued care for the people of Paradise.
November 10, 2018 (from the Grace Sacramento Diaconate):
As you know, the city of Paradise, California has been decimated by the most destructive wild fire in California history. We would like to make you aware of what we know, based on our interaction with our sister church, Ridge Presbyterian in Paradise and give you several opportunities to directly assist people we know and love those whose lives have been turned upside down by the Camp Fire.
Ridge Presbyterian Church's Assistant Pastor, Bryan Laws, his pregnant wife Angie, and their daughter Abby have been displaced to his sister's home in Roseville. More than 80% of the Ridge congregation, including the Laws have lost their home in the fire. Members and attenders have scattered to Chico, Oroville, Roseville and wherever else they have found friends, family and safe refuge. The Ridge Presbyterian Church office and food pantry have also been lost to the flames along with the rental location where they worship on Sunday mornings. Congregants who are still close will gather this Sunday evening in Chico at 5pm where they regularly host an evening worship service called Vespers. Bryan and Lead Pastor Josh Lee expect to have a better idea of the reality of the devastation for their entire congregation after Sunday's gathering, but devastation is certain.
We would like to direct any financial assistance that comes in directly to people who have a personal relationship with Ridge Presbyterian / Vespers in the Valley. Our gifts will fund their efforts to provide immediate needed relief for congregants in crisis and towards their efforts to care for the surrounding community. While Ridge Presbyterian is still in the process of clarifying how they can regain access to their finances and receive our gifts, if you would like to give financially, please make out a check to Grace Sacramento with "Ridge Presbyterian Fire" in the memo line and bring it to worship this Sunday Nov 11th or next Sunday Nov 18th. You can also give online by visiting https://cog.breezechms.com/give/online and selecting "fire relief fund."