Caldor Fire – Your California-Nevada Conference Responds
September 07, 2021 | by Steve Elliott
Susan Hunn from Eldorado Federated Church in Placerville alongside Steve Elliott, CN UMVIM and Disaster Response Ministry Coordinator.
Editor's Note: Give Now! Right now, our financial support is crucial. Our dollars make gift cards, hotel rooms, groceries, and clean water possible for our brothers and sisters affected by the Dixie Fire and their calls for help are coming.
- Click here to donate to our California-Nevada Conference Disaster Relief Fund.
- Click here to send your financial support to UMCOR which supports fire relief and recovery throughout the Western US.
Can you imagine fleeing with just the clothes on your back, leaving behind all you own? Or camping out for three weeks with an extended family of eight in a church parking lot? Maybe sleeping on a cot at a packed disaster shelter. Not knowing if your home made it or not. Mass displacement of thousands. The Caldor Fire changed many lives for the moment and some lives forever.
The California-Nevada Conference is responding to help. The Conference Disaster Response Ministry operated six days last week at the Local Assistance Center in Placerville. Lead by the Conference Early Response Team, we assisted evacuees with gift cards for immediate needs, emergency hygiene kits, wildfire recovery equipment and cleaning supplies.
We gave away about $20,000 worth of gift cards, kits and supplies. The vast majority of this assistance was funded by the Conference Disaster Response Fund or donated by United Methodist Churches in the California-Nevada Conference. We also handed out gift cards, hygiene kits and wildfire buckets to the two local churches for ongoing support.
The most important part of our services is to be a ministry of presence – listening to evacuees as they share their stories, express their fears and frustrations, and grieve their loss and ponder an uncertain future.
Critical to the staffing of this operation were volunteers from the El Dorado Federated Church in Placerville and Foothill UMC in Rescue, California. In addition, we were supported by donations from the nearby Catholic parish and donations/volunteers from Faith Episcopal Church in Cameron Park.
The El Dorado Federated Church had already been providing financial, temporary housing and food pantry assistance. Now, a combined team from Placerville Federated and Foothill UMC will be making follow up phone calls to check on the people we met at the Local Assistance Center. The Early Response Team will be leading an effort to assist survivors with personal property recovery when it is safe to do so.
We are determined to see this tragic event through. Even now, we are anticipating the long-term recovery. For more on how you or your church can help, contact Steve Elliott at UMVIMCoordinator@calnevumc.org
Steve Elliott serves a the California-Nevada UMVIM Coordinator and Interim Disaster Response Coordinator.