On November 8th, a fire started northeast of my hometown Paradise, CA and quickly overtook the town, sweeping across the ridge and destroying nearly every home; 8,000 structures as currently estimated. Included among them is the home my dad built in 1969, where my brothers and I grew up, explored deer trails, learned where and when to pick morel mushrooms. The land taught us how to live with the Earth.
My godparents’ home, all my neighbors’ homes and every home I played in as a kid are gone: the Peeks, the McDonalds, Andersons, Baileys, Quedens, and on and on and on. We share in this loss; it has opened our hearts to new depths of empathy as we see and hold each other.
Much time, many resources, and above all, hope will be necessary to recover not only our lives, but to mend this land we called home.
I have heard the call of my community and have returned to help my family, friends and neighbors.
There are many who are without fire insurance and who are already being denied by FEMA. We as a community are pulling together to ensure that no-one is left behind.
A friend of mine, who volunteers with the aid agency Burners without Borders, is organizing an open source spreadsheet to connect families who need shelter with those who can provide it. Offers of trailers, campers and RV’s are greatly appreciated. If you or someone you know can help please input info here: http://bit.ly/ParadiseRVs
I have reconnected with several families whose kids are part of the special education at Paradise Unified School District, who is planning to reopen a temporary school in Butte County while Paradise re-builds. If the families have nowhere to live they will not be able to attend school. This is a crucial time to ensure that our neighbors and many thousands of others in need do not lose hope.
Please support this campaign as we work with the locals and our extended community to get every person into safer temporary homes. Financial transparency is key and we will share our journey with you through videos. I know many families in need and will work to ensure that every dollar raised here is put to work for those most in need as we begin the process of healing from this crisis.
With gratitude and hope,
Allen and Annie
As I said, I grew up in Paradise. Since leaving home, I have traveled across the globe taking with me my roots from this wonderful town. I have been welcomed into the hearts and homes of so many, and from that have a community not just of Paradise but of the world. I’m an organizer and producer an artist and lover of the Earth. I hope to unite my world community with my birth community through this campaign.