The Better Together Coalition with combined contribution from UMR, IMANA, UHR, and Pure Hands completed the year with giving efforts to the response to the CA Wildfires. This effort was extremely important as the disaster of the California wildfires in Paradise, California also known as the Campfire wildfire DR-4407 was a disaster very different from fires in most recent years. The devastation of this fire spread for over 30 miles and more than 25,000 residents of the area were affected, and more than 86 people found dead and hundreds still missing. The Better Together Coalition response was lead by UMR’s Emergency Response Coordinator Rebekah Frimpong and was mainly focused on three core areas of response that included financial assistance, education, and community outreach. With the support of The Better Together Coalition UMR’s Emergency Response Coordinator was able to coordinate community outreach efforts in two towns where survivors of the wildfires relocated or evacuated to. Working in Chico and Oroville, California connections were made with distribution centers and organizations for getting goods, food, supplies, and services to survivors. In addition, UMR’s Emergency Response Coordinator was also able to develop partnerships with volunteer groups, throughout Northern California to support efforts.
UMR’s Emergency Response Coordinator established a partnership with The Hope Center in Oroville, CA, to identified immediate needs for survivors who relocated to Oroville, CA and the populations in most need. Through the partnership established with The Hope Center, on behalf of The Better Together Coalition, UMR’s Emergency Response Coordinator was able to provide a family of seven with a new mattress, blankets, pillows, and items for the children of the family. This family has now successfully moved into a new permanent home. UMR’s Emergency Response Coordinator was also able to assemble with the help of volunteers from Hands on Sacramento and the Department of Consumer Affairs in Sacramento, CA over 100 packages to deliver to The Hope Center distribution center in Oroville for survivors. UMR’s Emergency Response Coordinator also worked with the organization Passages in Chico, CA to deliver 22 requested packages to senior citizens affected by the fire. The Great Harvest Bread Company in Chico, CA organized a lunch for first responder nurses who were first on the scene during the wildfires and The Better Together Coalition matched the efforts making a contribution to help feed 50 first responder nurses.
The Better Together Coalition Book Drive organized by UMR’s Emergency Response Coordinator connected with Friends of Sacramento Library Ella K. McClatchy Branch to collect and pack 14 boxes of books and magazines and UMR’s Emergency Response Coordinator delivered 14 Boxes of books and magazines (over 200 books) to The Hope Center Distribution Center in Oroville, CA. UMR’s Emergency Response Coordinator followed up with the Red Cross Animal Shelter run by a small nonprofit group called A.S.A.P. on work with pets in this disaster who were being house at the shelter which their owners were sheltered at the Red Cross shelter Chico, CA location. UMR’s Emergency Response Coordinator shared a development plan draft that included resources for future assistance for the animal shelter to start for long term recovery. On behalf of The Better Together Coalition, UMR’s Emergency Response Coordinator and UMR’s Chapters Coordinator delivered pet supplies and two cash cards ($200 total) for additional supplies to help A.S.A.P. continue their efforts with pet care and rescue including vet services. UMR’s Emergency Response Coordinator developed a partnership to work with United Way Northern California at the Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) in Chico, CA to help survivors fill out applications for financial assistance and navigate through the FEMA registration process. UMR’s Emergency Response Coordinator developed and facilitated Art Day (Art based therapy) for school age children who survived the CA wildfires. The program was run in partnership with the Boys and Girls Club and Paradise Elementary School in Oroville, CA. UMR’s Emergency Response Coordinator again with the assistance of volunteers from Hands on Sacramento assembled and delivered 100 creative arts packages for kids to The Hope Center Distribution Center in Oroville, CA. The overall positive impact in the community from the efforts of The Better Together Coalition was that more than 300 people were directly impacted by efforts.