Community steps up for Camp Fire victims

Most residents in the Lake Almanor Basin are quite knowledgeable about the Camp Fire and quite aware of the many folks who are new to our community because of that catastrophe.

What some may not know is the extent that our community responded to the needs of so many casualties of that life-changing event.

With an estimated 250 to 300 evacuees coming into the area shortly after the fire started, the Lake Almanor Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors realized there was going to be a massive need for emergency “right now” assistance.

LAACC immediately opened the Camp Fire Fund account at Plumas Bank and began a campaign for donations to help the evacuees and then partnered with the Chester Wellness and Family Resource Center staff as a means to distribute the help.

Of the original group of people that came to this area almost 200 of them have registered and been helped by the community with the leadership of the LAACC.

That community support came in many forms to meet the many different needs of the families.    

There were many emergency items donated by local businesses and housed at the Wellness Center.

Donated funds were used for food through gift cards at Holiday Market and Dollar General.

Gas vouchers were provided through the Beacon station.

Clothing and toys for children were also provided through donations and local merchants.

There was job hunting assistance available to dislocated workers through the Alliance for Workforce Development

There was over $37,000 worth of money and goods donated to the Camp Fire Fund, with a majority of that being distributed during the initial period of evacuations directly to those in need of food, lodging, clothing and gas.

Now, that initial emergency has pretty much passed and there are still some remaining funds in the account.

The intent is to continue to help those that have decided to relocate to this area during their “settling in” period as they wait for disposition of housing situations and employment opportunities.

The current focus is on things like winter firewood, replacing lost work tools and utility hook-ups.

If you are working with or know of an individual or family residing in our area that was directly impacted by the Camp Fire and may benefit from additional resources, have them contact the Chester Wellness Center, 259-4156.

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