Red Cross appeals for donations

Fire crisis has put it in debt

There are countless people to thank for the hard work and generosity of spirit shown in response to the series of fires that have besieged Butte County.

Some, like the firefighters, are pushing themselves to exhaustion doing the jobs they are paid to do; others are working hard as volunteers, giving all they can to help those whose lives have been interrupted by the fires. It’s hard to be cynical about human nature when such capacity for compassion is so everywhere evident.

Of all the many service organizations involved, none is more important than the Red Cross. That’s who’s setting up and equipping all those shelters for evacuees, providing cots, food, blankets and even trained counselors for the thousands of people who have found refuge there.

The Red Cross also provided for 67 families who lost their homes in the Humboldt and Ophir fires, giving them emergency funds and putting them up in motels.

The cost, before the latest round of shelter openings, has been somewhere in the neighborhood of $160,000, reports Martha Griese, CEO of the local Three Rivers Chapter of the Red Cross. Most of that money has come from the national Red Cross, and the local chapter is required to pay it back.

So far it has raised around $80,000, Griese says, but it needs to raise more, much more. “I’ve been so seriously grateful for what we have gotten so far,” she says, “but we need help paying our bills.”

Her appeal gives all of us an opportunity to contribute to the community-wide response to the fire crisis. Donations can be sent to the Chico Red Cross, 1398 Ridgewood Drive, Chico, CA 95973, or contributed via credit card by calling 891-0885.