When the news of the Camp Fire reached the Unified Caring Association (UCA) office our team was hopeful. We hoped that the fire would be quickly controlled. Our prayers went out to all humans and animals that they would escape the fires unharmed. And we sent our caring to fire victims. We were devastated to hear that the entire city of Paradise, California was incinerated. The news reported 18,793 structures were destroyed, and that the fire had spared nothing, leaving total devastation. Our hearts were broken, and we wondered how the survivors could go on. UCA reached out to various agencies in hope of finding a meaningful way to help. Understandably, emergency agencies were over-burdened with phone calls. Many lacked the manpower to handle the donations they were receiving. Luckily, our fearless team member Luna kept at it! She was determined to make sure that UCA extended our caring to fire victims. So, she kept making calls. Eventually, Luna made a connection with a wonderful woman named Nanette, and magic happened!
A Caring Hero
Nanette is a caring hero for many reasons. She runs a non-profit unrelated to the fire effort to begin with! Nanette had heard that her friend, a volunteer at her non-profit, had lost her home in the fire. Time went by and Nanette was unable to reach her. So, Nanette set out to find her friend. While searching for her friend, she saw first-hand the devastation of the Camp Fire. Luckily, her friend was located safely, and Nanette decided to create a caring event to help the fire victims. She set out to give those who had lost so much a caring holiday! Nanette researched the needs of the community and created a caring holiday event!
Some UCA Support
The UCA CARE team asked Nanette to share with us how she felt we could help the most. She explained that expectant mothers had lost everything in the fires – they had nothing for their newborns, no blankets, no clothes. We were told that the children had lost all of their toys and holiday cheer was in short supply. As a result, the UCA team of elves immediately swung into action! No baby item was left on the shelf! We bought baby sleepers, onesies, t-shirts, leggings, blankets, coats, socks, sweatpants, sweatshirts, pajamas and cozy clothes for toddlers. In addition, we also bought 80 gifts for children – backpacks, school supplies, plush animals so they would have something to hold, creative art kits and books. Plus, we sent cheery Christmas decorations, notes of encouragement and … our hearts … we truly sent them our hearts.
A Caring Holiday Miracle
And so it was, on December 22 at the Eagle Lodge in Chico, California a holiday party was held. People who had lost everything came to celebrate the miracle of togetherness. Children sat on Santa’s lap and received their gifts. Families ate together and for a moment in time, caring filled a place in their hearts where fear and sadness had once taken hold.
Our hearts go out to all who suffered in the California fires this year. May they be cared for, supported and loved through the challenging days ahead as they rebuild their lives. We are incredibly grateful to the firefighters and first responders that fearlessly serve and protect us all day after day. Our hearts are touched by all of the caring heroes in the world who miraculously appear when tragedy strikes. In tragedy, we are often reminded of the true value of caring. If there is caring in the world, we can never lose everything.