BEND, OR -- The Camp Fire in Paradise, CA, has displaced thousands, and one local woman is working to bringing Thanksgiving to those who are staying in the many Red Cross shelters across the devastated region. Carrie Sammons, who lives in Bend, has traveled to Chico as a volunteer for the Red Cross to provide service, comfort, and some turkey and cranberry sauce. "We've got 950 people staying in 7 different Red Cross shelters, and we have a kitchen set up, not the Red Cross, it's run by another group, who are going to prepare a full-on Thanksgiving meal for those shelters. The Red Cross staff is going to go to the shelters, and serve the meals, to give the shelter staff a bit of a break, and serve all of our clients."
She says, for many, it's their first holiday after losing all their possessions. "For a lot of these people, this is their first time without a home, their first time, maybe, without their families, and it's making it a little bit normal for the Red Cross staff, as well, to be having a regular Thanksgiving meal.Their lives have been changed forever, and it's my hope that we, in the Red Cross, can help their transition move along as quickly as possible."
Rain is forecast, and Oregon strike teams are heading home, but Sammons says that may mean more Paradise residents, who are currently camping, will move into the Red Cross shelters. The Camp fire has been reported as the deadliest wildfire in a century, burning more than 150,000 acres and 13,000 structures, and resulting in the deaths of at least 79 people. 28 agency and association personnel from the Oregon Department of Forestry and the Douglas Forest Protective Association have been released to return home for Thanksgiving, due to heavy rains in California's forecast.