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RV/Motor Home for Paradise, CA CampFire Survivors

$44,407 of $50,000 goal

Raised by 422 people in 8 months
34621424_1546103911565514_r.jpegNeed a little help for families who lost everything. 

Even in a state like Colorado, with a citizenry that is hyper aware of the danger of wildfires, this Northern California fire, unassumingly named #campfire has for some reason, seemed so far away.  I have casually watched news reports about it all week out of the corner of my eye and shallowly “dug deeper” by searching the hashtag #campfire on Twitter, but I’ll admit that was mostly to watch the sometimes terrifying fire videos shot by those escaping and or fighting the inferno.

So terrifying....
“I hope they are ok”.
“Thoughts and prayers”.
“I can’t imagine what "they" must be going through”

blah blah blah....

Despite seeing this real life horror show so intimately in the age of smartphone videos I must admit that I remained mostly disconnected to the reality of the “numbers”  and rising death count perhaps because the numbers are truly so difficult to comprehend.  

As of today 11/17/18 
·       71 confirmed fatalities
·       1,011 listed as unaccounted and missing
·       11,862 structures destroyed
·       9,700 single family homes burned to the ground
·       Approximately 52,000 people housed in shelters.

Say what?

52,000+ Americans just lost everything the owned the week before THANKSGIVING and are currently living in shelters and camping in parking lots. They lost their homes, pets, cars, businesses, all of their belongings and in some cases loved ones…all of it was gone in an instant.

This fire started at sunrise on Thursday November 8, 2018.  The 10’s of thousands residents of the town of Paradise, CA had almost no warning of the imminent danger...most of those that perished died in their homes when the fire blew into town riding 70 mph winds. 90% of the town was reduced to ashes in minutes. 

Everything and almost everyone who did not flee were incinerated.

Unimaginable.

Overwhelmed and feeling like had to do something I browsed the Chico, CA Craig’s list site where many of the evacuees are in shelters and the need for temporary housing is mind boggling. FEMA is not expected to have portable shelters in place for as long as 3 months.

52,000+ people are sleeping in tents, on cots in gyms and on church pews tonight and every night for the foreseeable future.
Families. 
Kids. 
Babies. 
Veterans. 
Elderly
Physically handicapped.

Nearly everyone who made it out alive is now homeless.

One shelter located in a community church in Chico that is sheltering 179 of the displaced now has a Norovirus outbreak (vomiting and diarrhea) with 21 confirmed cases and counting. 

There is a desperate need for housing.
Even temporary housing. 

But what can I do?  What can we do?

Chico, CA may be a 19 hour drive from Denver but these are our neighbors.  We have to do something.

Surely we can find a way to get at least one family in a place they can call home for now until they are in a position to figure out which way is up again.

I kept browsing and then I found someone on Craigslist offering a free site hookup for an RV near Chico.
https://chico.craigslist.org/prk/d/free-rv-parking-and-utilities/6749355193.html

Ok, then lets buy an RV and give it to a family who needs it in time for Thanksgiving.

I put an ad on Denver, Colorado craigslist asking for an RV donation and hopefully a like minded person who feels the need to do something too will donate their old RV/Motor Home. But that's a long shot. I recognize that this is a big ask.

I know without question that my community of family and friends and those who just want to help can and will help find an RV that will help someone. I’ve messaged most of the people selling RV’s in Denver to see if they would be willing to donate or discount their RV for sale. Will see what responses I get from that effort.

 $12,900 would buy someone an RV like this with beds and a fridge, a shower and a kitchenette. This would be life changing, a simple ray of hope, for someone with a family currently living in a tent.
https://denver.craigslist.org/rvd/d/1993-rexhal-aerbus-32ft-51k/6750437490.html

I already took off work next week and with your help, we will find an RV somehow and then we will fill it up with diapers and formula and anything else that is needed and I will drive it to California, donate the supplies to those who need the supplies and then hand the keys and the title of the RV to a displaced family for Thanksgiving. 

Then we will fly back Denver. 
back to work. 
and back to school...
and life will go on like normal for us. 

And hopefully life will begin to feel a little more “normal” for someone who has lost everything they owned to this horrific fire. 

 How fortunate we all are to have a place that we call home at Thanksgiving. Never take it for granted because it all could be gone in an instant.

My primary motivation here is to remind myself, friends and family how much we all have to be thankful for and more importantly to make sure that at least one family in California, who lost everything in an instant, will have something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving too.  

We will find the right family; we will fully vet them for need and make sure this gift goes to a those who genuinely need it. There are so many. I am actively working with a firefighter friend to try and find a firefighter or other first responder with a family who lost their home but of course am open to donating the RV to any family who has been affected by this disaster. I will share details of prospective families (with their permission of course) to all donors and ask for your help picking the right family to deliver this gift to.  

If you  know anyone who benefit from this initiative please contact me with as much detail about their current situation as possible and they will of course considered.

We have less than a week to do this. If we leave Denver Tuesday, we will arrive in California in plenty of time for Thanksgiving. When I told my 6 y/o about our plans for Thanksgiving she said that God and Santa will be really happy with us for doing this and I think that she’s probably right.

If we come up short of the necessary funds to buy an RV then we will donate 100% of the proceeds to fire relief efforts in the Paradise, CA area. I will be completely transparent with all use of funds.

Thank you for considering and Happy Thanksgiving!

34621424_1542474378590637_r.jpeg
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Time for a long overdue update that I would like to share with each of you, as each and every one of YOU made all of this possible.

The 50th RV4CampfireFamily since Thanksgiving was delivered just yesterday. Unfortunately we still have over 500 families who remain on our waiting list who are in need of transitional housing.

In other news, Luna and I flew to LA last week to shoot a segment on the Steve Harvey Show. The show will air nationally this Tuesday 2/5/19 on @stevetvshow
Local listings may be found here. http://stevetv.com/local-listings.

We are so grateful to Steve and his incredible team for shining the national spotlight on Paradise, CA and surrounding communities devastated by the most destructive wildfire in California history.

Steve flew us from LA to Sacramento and we spent the weekend in Chico area and delivered an RV to a family of 5 with special needs kids who have been living in a hotel since the fire. They were overjoyed and asked me to pass along their gratitude to each one of you.

After a couple of nights at the farm that is hosting some of the families we have grown to love, we drove to Oakland and on Tuesday, Luna and I spoke to 500 or so Comcast California leaders at their quarterly meeting. I've worked for Comcast for 15 years and I've learned in that time that not everyone loves their cable company. Comcast is a huge company, but I feel fortunate to work for an organization that gives back to the communities we serve. Tragically, eight Comcast employees lost their homes and everything they owned in the #campfire. Comcast provided emergency housing and financial support for these families immediately following the fire. Shortly after the fire started, Comcast NBCUniversal donated $1.1 million in cash and in-kind support for the communities impacted by fires in both Northern and Southern California. A cash contribution of $850,000 went to the Boys & Girls Club of North Valley, the Butte County Schools Fire Relief Fund, the Camp Fire Evacuation Relief Fund, CDF Firefighters Benevolent Foundation and the Entertainment Industry Foundation. Comcast also donated $250,000 of in-kind support to the North Valley Community Foundation.

John Gauder, who is is Comcast SVP responsible for 4500 Comcast California employees contacted me and asked if Luna and I would be willing to speak to his senior management team as a surprise to his team. We of course agreed to do so. John interviewed Luna and I in the round in front of a packed house and Luna did great. Comcast surprised her with a toy RV and also donated $10,000 towards the work being done by RV4CampfireFamily. I am grateful to Comcast for deciding to #dosomething too.

And finally, we now have a website and social media being managed by awesome volunteers:
www.RV4CampfireFamily.org
Facebook RV4CampfireFamily
Instagram: @RV4CampfireFamily
Twitter: @RV4CampfireFams

I don't know yet where we go from here other than continuing our mission to provide transitional housing to as many families affected by the fire as possible. As I told Steve Harvey when we met: God took the wheel during our first trip to California and has been driving ever since,

Thank you!
JWF and the RV4Campfirefamily team
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I would like to introduce you to Megan. She is 23 years young and a Senior at Chico State. Megan has a younger sister, a freshman, at Chico St. and a younger brother, a freshman at Paradise High School.

Megan’s family along with 500 other families of Chico State students lost their homes and all belongings in the #campfire. Megan’s family slept in their car and couch surfed for the first few weeks following the fire. When we heard their story, we purchased and drove our second RV from Colorado to California where we gifted it to Megans family. Since then we have delivered 43 additional RV’s to families just like hers. Megans father is the US Army veteran that we didn’t think should spend even one night in his car.

Thank you all for making this possible.

Megan’s family, settling in for few weeks now, recently relocated their families chickens to an area on the farm that’s adjacent to their RV. These are not ordinary chickens...rather they are miracle chickens who all somehow survived the inferno. Megan explained to us that the sky was pitch black at 9am in Paradise the day of the fire due to the smoke. It was so dark that the chickens thought it was night time and went in their shelter to roost. The chicken coop is the only structure on their property that didn’t burn that awful day.

Luna and I learned all about the miracle chickens by spending some time with Megan and other Campfire survivors on Christmas Eve. When her family shyly asked the farm owner, who is their gracious volunteer host, if they could bring the chickens to the property...
Kim,the farm owner glanced at her husband Henry, smiled and simply replied...
“I’ve always wanted to raise chickens here”.

And that my friends is how angels respond to trauma survivors. This is what compassion, community and selflessness looks like up close. I feel so blessed to be in a position to see so much good come from so much pain.

Megan like almost everyone we have met from this area speak of how they plan to give back, even tho they on the surface it appears as if they have nothing left to give. Dig a little deeper and you will soon find that the gifts of those that have nothing are in reality... priceless.

Megan’s vision of her future was brought into sharp focus following the fire. She now has plans to go to graduate school to secure a masters degree and work as a crisis counselor. She wants to work with trauma survivors suffering from PTSD. There are 10’s of thousands of those survivors in her community that will certainly need her help.

We think Meagan and so many other survivors in this community are simply amazing. These people are deeply wounded but resilient and will get through this.

We have learned on this journey that those that are in the midst of unimaginable crisis are also among the very first to offer a helping hand to their neighbor in crisis. It’s a privilege to be a witness to so much good.

Megan is the future of Paradise.

Thank you for helping us help families like Megan’s.

RV4campfirefamily@gmail.com single biggest ongoing need is funding.

Donate here:
https://www.gofundme.com/motor-home-for-fire-victims/donate

NEED HOUSING? If you have lost your home in the Paradise, CA area please fill
out this form with your information and will do our best to help you;
https://goo.gl/forms/iKDI8e7XdPg4XIQi1

WANT TO DONATE AN RV?
If you have an RV or travel trailer to donate
please send us the following information to match you to a family in
need:
https://goo.gl/forms/vt3uMP4aNYQEZaQx2

WANT TO VOLUNTEER? If you want to join our awesome team of volunteers
working tirelessly day and night, balancing families and day jobs to
get homes for Paradise families please fill out the form and we will
be in touch: https://goo.gl/forms/wN27c30uLe0gaK3y1
+ Read More
See Updates:
Alejandro Lozada lost his landscaping business and all of his clients in the #campfire.
Thanks to RV park owner Mark Weiner, 5th wheel donors Chuck and Dale Banza and all of you, we were able to help Alejandro find a new place to call home and the opportunity to restart his business.

This is who you are helping when you support our work.

DONATE:
https://www.gofundme.com/motor-home-for-fire-victims/donate

NEED HOUSING? If you have lost your home in Paradise CA and surrounding communities please fill
out this form with your information:
https://goo.gl/forms/iKDI8e7XdPg4XIQi1

WANT TO DONATE AN RV?
If you have an RV or travel trailer to donate
please send us the following information to match you to a family in
need:
https://goo.gl/forms/vt3uMP4aNYQEZaQx2

WANT TO VOLUNTEER? If you want to join our awesome team of volunteers
working tirelessly day and night, balancing families and day jobs to
secure homes for Paradise families?
please fill out the form and we will
be in touch: https://goo.gl/forms/wN27c30uLe0gaK3y1
+ Read More
Meet Rubi Solis.
We met with Rubi in the pouring rain on Christmas Eve when we connected with her a couple miles from her home which had burned to the ground in Concow, CA during the #campfire. Her home, which she owned outright with no mortgage, unfortunately did not have any insurance coverage.

We met up with Rubi the day after she had moved from a Red Cross shelter at the Silver Dollar fairgrounds in Chico, CA. Rubi and her 4 kids contracted Norovirus at the shelter and had been relocated to a single room in a hotel in order to be “quarantined”.

We drove with Rubi to the site of her destroyed home on 17 acres in this beautiful part of Northern California. She plans to live with her family in the RV on the site where her home burned to the ground because this community, this land and now this RV, is “home”. She raised her kids here and this is where they all are home schooled. Rubi is of Apache and Otomi Native ancestry. When I asked her if she was a spiritual person Rubi told me she is a “Catholic, Christian, Native, Nature lover”.

Thats what I am!”

We think she’s brave and just awesome. The reason we continue to do this work is best summed up by the hug Rubi gave me through her minivan window in the pouring rain. She wouldn’t let me go and nearly separated my head from my body. It was the best hug ever, Norovirus risk and all. I hope everyone gets to feel a hug like this from a stranger someday.

This is Rubi’s story in her own words and who you are helping when you support our work at RV4campfirefamily@gmail.com

Thank you for your continued support.

Donate here:
https://www.gofundme.com/motor-home-for-fire-victims/donate

NEED HOUSING? If you have lost your home in Paradise, CA or surrounding communities please fill
out this form with your information:
https://goo.gl/forms/iKDI8e7XdPg4XIQi1

WANT TO DONATE AN RV? If you have an RV or travel trailer to donate
please send us the following information to match you to a family in
need:
https://goo.gl/forms/vt3uMP4aNYQEZaQx2

WANT TO VOLUNTEER? If you want to join our awesome team of volunteers
working tirelessly day and night, balancing families and day jobs to
get homes for Paradise families please fill out the form and we will
be in touch. https://goo.gl/forms/wN27c30uLe0gaK3y1
+ Read More
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$44,407 of $50,000 goal

Raised by 422 people in 8 months
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