Tubbs Fire Relief Fund - FUMC-SR-CA

My family and I were one of the thousands of Santa Rosa residents who lost their home in the Tubbs fire on October 9th. During the evacuation, my family stayed in the First United Methodist Church. We were not Christians and not members of this church. They opened their door immediately and took care of many fire victims in the community. I consider them our hero just like other 1st responders.

In the past, whenever we needed help, our family, relative, friends, and neighbors were always there. When this wildfire happened so suddenly, our family and relatives were thousands of miles away. This fire took our neighbors' homes and even the life of one of our elderly neighbors. I saw the crucial roles of the local churches and charity organizations that responded to the need of the community. I feel we are in a position to help the organization like the First United Methodist Church and other friends, who helped us during our time of need so that they could help more poor and needy in the future. The community is powerful.

First United Methodist Church began a Fire Relief Fund has several goals:

·       Cover expenses for running the evacuation shelter for ten days in October.

·       Provide for campus general emergency housing and the remodeling of the parsonage as temporary housing.

The amount could be $5,000 or up.

Please consider a donation of any size to help First United Methodist Church of Santa Rosa, (1551 Montgomery Dr, Santa Rosa, CA 95405), help others as they helped us.

Following is my experience of Tubbs fire.

We saw flames blowing into the backyard
Our nightmare began Sunday night with powerful warm winds, and a power outage at 11 p.m. We all went to bed early. I woke up around 3 a.m. smelling smoke and the sound of explosions; It felt unusual, so I got up to check. I looked out my window and saw a wall of flames approaching, about 50 feet from my backyard. My neighbor's yard was already on fire. I yelled and woke everybody up. We grabbed our backpacks and took what we could near the desk and ran down to the garage. The garage door opener had no power. It took a few tries to unlatch it and finally open it. We decided to drive one car to keep everybody together. Total evacuation time was about 15 minutes. We drove out the garage at 3:20 a.m.


We are lucky to be safe here
When we drove out of our neighborhood, it was incredibly smoky and eerily quiet. Many small fires were blazing along the side of the road. Visibility was very low. We saw a car and followed it to safety. A neighbor, who left her house about 15-20 minutes after us, saw our house engulfed in fire. Another neighbor of ours, a 101-year-old man told his wife to flee without him as their living room already on fire. We are so lucky to be safe.

Fountaingrove photo credit by Kent Porter/Press Democrat

We are grateful to the Ciena community
We drove to a Safeway parking lot which was almost full. Then we tried four hotels, but they were all full. We spent the rest of the night at the Ciena Petaluma office and stayed in the conference room with a couple of other displaced Ciena families. The Ciena co-workers, managers and executives are very caring, generous and supportive of the temporary lodging and housing, mail/package delivery, flexible work hour and Ciena Cares for this GoFundMe ... 

Over the next three weeks, we stayed at the First United Methodist Church and three different hotels. We met and talked with many fire victims. We saw so many poor and less fortunate people and felt we were lucky to have what we had. I am healthy, work for the best company and have some savings for emergencies like this one.

Church that helped us during evacuation
We are so grateful that the Fields’ family invited us to stay in the First United Methodist Church for 2-3 days when there was no hotel available within a 100-mile radius of Santa Rosa. From the first moment, this church opened their door and provided warm meals, clothes, jackets, blanket and sleeping pads to many families like mine. They are caring, friendly and welcoming everybody. The church staffs and volunteers were busy with food/drink preparation and clothes/supply distribution. We also helped on cleaning, moving, and trash. It was so lovely to see people comforting, cheering each other and children, dogs playing even the devastating fire was miles away from where we were.

Majority of guests were senior citizens when I was there

Thanks, many volunteers for warm meals and drinks ...

Supply distribution. I got a warm jacket for a cold night.

Children had a good time and temporarily forgot about the fire.

Support and build a strong community
When the Ciena Cares volunteer talked to me about creating a GoFundMe in the Ciena community, my family thought, instead of funding us, it might be more helpful to support the First United Methodist Church of Santa Rosa, so they could continue to help the poor and needy.  The community will be strong, and so is every family.

Thanks for considering a donation to this worthy cause
My mom, living in the dementia care for many years, taught me that people help you one dollar, you want to give back ten dollars because the caring and kindness are priceless. She doesn’t recognize me anymore, but I remember her teaching forever.  I start with a $200 donation.
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Perry Peng 
Santa Rosa, CA
First United Methodist Church of Santa Rosa 
Registered nonprofit
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