On Monday, December 10th, ESL owners Michael and David Hellmers drove the company motorhome 565 miles north to the devastated town of Paradise, CA.
What was the mission? To drive the motorhome north and donate it to a family who had lost their home in the fire. In addition, ESL reached out to family and friends to help fill the motorhome up with new toys, clothes, unwrapped gifts, and any other helpful items that could be donated.
The one day mission took two days due to a minor rear suspension issue with the Winnebago (possibly caused by all the donations that filled up the motorhome).
Fifteen miles before arriving in Paradise, Michael and David dropped off donations in the form of gifts, supplies, gift cards and checks to the Salvation Army in Chico. Together, with the Red Cross online donation campaign for the Camp Fire Victims, the ESL fundraising program’s total exceeded $15,000.00.
Upon arrival in Paradise, the local Cal Fire Battalion Chief, Jason Morris led Michael and David through the burned out city. During their trek to the motorhome’s new residence at Cal-Fire’s Butte Camp, they learned that all of Paradise is completely closed off to the public and most people will not be allowed back in until February or March.
By the end of the second day, Michael and David had given the motorhome to a Cal Fire Captain’s family that was displaced due to the devastation caused by the Camp Fire. Chief Morris, his Captains and staff were extremely appreciative as were the fine folks at the Salvation Army in Chico.
It will be a while before any of the families displaced by the Paradise fire can return to their homes and even then, the rebuilding of what was lost will be an exhaustive task. ESL was humbled by the efforts made by family and friends to help with this humanitarian mission and realize that there are many ways to give. If you are interested in helping the victims affected by the fire below are a few options.
Donate New/ Unused Gifts: Specific items that the local Salvation Army’s distribution center in Chico, CA is asking for are unwrapped new underwear/socks, blankets/pillows, hygiene items, diapers/baby wipes, and new toys (no electronics). Salvation Army’s address is: 1100 Marauder St., Chico, CA 95973
Gift Cards: Gift Card donations have been shown to be extremely effective at providing the best benefit to those in need. This allows 100% of the donated funds to quickly help the wide-ranging short-term needs of those who have lost everything. ESL has been advised that Gift Cards for clothing, food and especially gas are best.
Donate Directly to the Red Cross: The American Red Cross has over 500 volunteers on the ground locally providing shelter, food, support, clothing, etc and they can definitely use your donation. You can simply visit redcross.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS to contribute!