Monday, December 10, 2018

CA Fires- How you helped

 What an amazing and overwhelming trip to CA my niece and I had.
I was super happy that it was sunny and the roads were clear of ice and snow, both going and coming.
We met Nichole in the mountains and gave her some items to stay warm. She grew up in Paradise and although she wasn't living there at the time she is helping others with their needs. 
 I had made another connection and stopped by a hotel with evacuees and left them quilts.
This couple was so appreciative of the quilt we gave them. Their son was diagnosed with brain cancer 2 days before the fire. He lives in Oregon and that is where they are trying to find housing. I thought it was fitting the quilt they got is called the Oregon Trail.  This woman is a nurse and was telling her story on the 60 minute episode where the bulldozer driver was the "angel" to rescue them. 
We arrived at Honey Run Quilts when this "angel" was delivering this pile of quilts that his grandmother was donating. 

The owner (Dan, I believe), Pam and Jo happy to receive our donations.

 They showed us the area they had set up for quilters to "shop" the donations.

Okay, just imagine this awesome space without the forklift! LOL
One of the lovely donated quilts.
I was able to give the employees of Honey Run some hand made soap as a thank you for their hard work to help others. So many of them were directly affected as well.

The evening we arrived we were invited to the Chico guild.

I was able to see my friend Brandie and give her the items she had requested for her co-workers and friends who had lost everything. This is Zack, he got a quilt, blanket, pillow and some new shirts. 
That is Brandie in her lovely new red sweater too! It looks fantastic on her!

Jesse requested a comforter for her teenage stepson.

Rudy got some new polo shirts.

And Joyce got info on my Madras town in case she relocates. 
We had a really good night sleep and made a plan for the following day. 
The next morning we took a little drive out on a winding road in the hopes of understanding a bit of what the residents had gone through. (and what they would be finding when they went home) 

 It was sobering and so sad.
 Were these quilt blocks newly put up? Not burned? Gosh, I don't know and have no explanation.

 We went to the Red Cross shelter to see if we could volunteer. We could but we also told we could go to the local WalMart and find people we could donate to. That sounded weird, but we did it.

This was the first couple we met. Most of the people still in the shelters are the ones with the least amount of resources. 

 We cried, we hugged and they were unbelievably grateful. The man on the left is mentally challenged and he had purchased a doll for his wife whose doll collection had been burned up with their house. He told us he didn't need any money as they were fine and to give it to someone else. (Fred was Hannah's favorite!)
Everyone told us their story. The couple on the right had a dead battery, so got a jump from their neighbor then the neighbor left and the car died. She ran up the road jammed with traffic to flag someone to help them and someone gave her cables but said sorry he wouldn't leave the road. Someone finally drove to the car and it wouldn't start so told them to get in they had to get out now.
This lovely lady was Donna and she was on the missing list for several days. When we gave her an envelope with a little money she only had tears for us. Nobody had helped her like that and she couldn't understand why complete strangers would help her. The card I gave with the cash only said, "you are loved" . She was getting ready to go sift through her home ashes to see if she could find anything worth saving.

Sherell was camping at the fairgrounds and when we talked to her she was purchasing coats for neighboring children who were also camping. We gave her a couple of little quilts and dolls to give away to little girls because we were not allowed to. We also gave her cash and a jacket that was a perfect fit that she wore right away! We could identify some of the shelter people by the orange wristband they were wearing. (see photo) 

I had a few quilts left and was introduced to Wendy, a paradise School teacher, who is donating quilts to victims.  After spending several hours at WalMart she met us and we made a transfer. She is now trying to teach high school students at the local mall. What a jewel!
And the sun set at Wal Mart on our first full day in California.
 We were told when Walmart cleared out the campers they relocated to Lowes, so that is where we went bright and early on Saturday, handing out warm jackets and whatever else was needed. It was about 40 degrees so definitely cool.
We happen to have a cute pair of boots for this gal- not very practical but it was fun anyway! We came back later with a few items they had asked about- warm socks, leggings and pants! 

We met a few more evacuees at WalMart. 

Bought a few of them food from Subway. They really did appreciate it.

 We went back to the fairgrounds (red Cross shelter area)  where the day before Hannah had met briefly a teenager she wanted to give a gift card to.
Grandma and little Sammy enjoying the sunshine.

We had 2 more dollies and little quilts to give out so we hid them in a purse and found little Ezra. 

 And her parents. The stories of escaping from the fire were unbelievable!
One more dolly and quilt to give out and we were on our way. (the momma has the little quilt) We gave both to the one pushing the stroller and she gently handed it to her little sister in the stroller. 
Then security came by and told us we were not supposed to be giving any donations. Aargh! We were leaving anyway!

We had one more stop in Red Bluff with a quilter names Tina who had met a family in the laundromat. It was a mother, son in law, daughter and 2 boys under 3. (this was why I needed kids quilts!) The son in law's father had died from injuries related to the fire so we made sure each person had a quilt of their own. 

If your quilt group wants to make quilts they will take them! If you have one quilt you'd like to donate that would be awesome! That is one person who would be comforted with your quilt and know someone loves them. 

Thank you for your generosity! And trusting me to distribute your goods and money. I feel completely humbled and honored to have been able to do this.
Continue to pray for these people as many still struggle to find housing and make sense of it all. 
Love to you all.


  1. Oh, Lori, what a heartwarming post. Thank you for sharing and most of all for helping those in need. Your efforts will always be remembered :)

  2. Thank you so much for making the trip and for sharing it with us. We are all blessed. My tears and prayers continue for this community.

  3. So, so sad, yet uplifting. And the phoenix rose from the ashes, stronger than before. ;^)

  4. Beautifully told, Lori. The need is great.

  5. Bless you, dear girl, and all of those who contributed to this wonderful outpouring of kindness.

  6. Crying here. I am so sorry for each person and so glad you impacted them so much!

  7. Powerful Lori - absolutely powerful! The smiles on the faces of these Paradise folks is such a sign of strength.

  8. Thanks for sharing their stories. It is truly heartbreaking to hear what they are going through. Thanks for being a conduit of love!

  9. oh my...crying some happy tears for all the help you/we were able to wonderful of the Honey Run shop to set up a place for all the quilter donations...thank you from every part of my heart for making this happen...

  10. I echo everyone's voice here with goosebumps and tears. This post is not only heartwarming but encourages us to do more. xo

  11. Thank you Lori for sharing your trip of mercy and grace, my heartbreaks for these people. I hope they know how much we all care. Merry Christmas everyone.

  12. What an amazing story of your trip and experience, so much pain being replaced by kindness and love, it truly warms my heart.
    I didn't think about little kids too, I have a small baby quilt I made and no one to give to.


  13. I scanned the photos for my girlfriends family...I am sure they have felt the love and joy of all the quilters in the world who are helping. You are an angel!

  14. This made me cry, Lori. What a marvelous thing you did and I am touched by each story. I chose to give elsewhere, but I am grateful to everyone who made this possible for you to touch so many lives!

  15. Oh my goodness, I feel so happy to see my little quilts go to little girls and their new dolls! Bless you, Lori. ❤️

  16. got 2 boxes ready to go...the line at the PO was out the door today and i couldn't stand with the heavy boxes but i'll go back....lots of quilty notions and tools for the paradise guild and books too...all donated from my guild...

  17. So happy to see all of the help that was sent. Very heartwarming. It was a pleasure to donate goods to these people. Bless you Lori for travelling there and all that you do.

  18. You are so amazing. I'm in awe of your generosity. I was put on hold to send my things, but it looks like I can now, right? They have space for the books and fabric, etc.?

  19. Thank ou for this post. The fire seems to have dropped off national news. Yet, the real story of new beginnings is just starting.

  20. Thankyou Lori for doing this. I would have been a blubbering mess! Folks in England have sent money, but how lovely to see survivors being handed the things they need and they all so cheerful! The human spirit is strong. I'm so happy to see this post.

  21. Bless you Lori! That is all I can say!!!

  22. You're a sweetheart ! Bravo Lori and all the quilters who helped !

  23. Thank you so much for sharing! It is so hard to comprehend after watching the 60 Minutes episode - so fast and devastating!

    Blessings, Patti

  24. You are simply the best! Even thought you were 'not supposed' to be handing out items I'm sure those that RECEIVED them were super happy with the personal touch. Thanks again!

  25. Lori and Hannah you made our world brighter and so many people feel hope. I am humbled by your generous trip. Jo found a home for the sewing machine and I am sorting everything to get the wonderful treasures in place to give quilters all through the next month and beyond! Much love to you both! Xoxo Pam

  26. You my dear lady are an angel and certainly earned your wings! I originally am from the area and now live here in Oregon. I want you to know I was wiping tears while reading your post. I have friends who lost everything in that fire. But they got out in time and are alive and safe. It takes something like this to remind you that it was not simply quilts that you gave away, but you gave people hope and the knowledge that those people are thought about and cared about. Thank you for doing this and thank you for being an angel.

  27. I agree with Sandy you are an angel. What I dont understand is, why you were not supposed to give people donations. I don't live in USA so things must be different there.
    I cant imagine how terrible it would be to go through such devastation. You are a wonderful person Lori!

  28. This is the best post! Thank you so much for sharing. Some people would have made it all about themselves, but you have such a gift with helping. Wonderful to read through this.:)

  29. Thank you for being the willing hands and feet to do what so many were unable to do. I can't imagine what those gifts mean to those who basically have nothing. Beautiful quilts, made with is so nice to see the joy they brought to the people of Paradise.

  30. You are so wonderful to do this work. I am sure you will be blessed for all you do. It is hard to imagine the devastation they have and are going through.

  31. So truly loving to give you time and items and $$ of yours and others to those in need

  32. What an amazing story, Lori, about your journey to Chico with Hannah.
    You are truly an angel!
    I'm going tomorrow to Chico to drop off 15 or so quilts, mostly for kids but a few for adults as well.


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