Faith Hoyt with Connie Vandeman Jeffery
Pacific Union Adventist Community Services (ACS) Director Charlene Sargent has been in motion for months now to coordinate specific kinds of support for Camp Fire survivors in Northern California.
In the last 11 months since the fire, many survivors have resided in hotels, with family and friends, and other temporary housing situations. This summer as survivors transitioned into more permanent places of residence, Sargent and her team helped provide items that recently became needs for these families: kitchen supplies.
Thanks to grant monies from Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) and the North American Division (NAD), Sargent and her team purchased items needed to assemble kitchen kits, which included mixing bowls, silverware, pots, knives, baking ware, glasses, and more. Sargent then coordinated relief efforts with other agencies working in Northern California so as to distribute these supplies to survivors with verified needs. Though the process took time, ACS teams were able to host localized giveaways that ensured supplies were given to verified fire survivors. “We need to serve the people who need it,” Sargent said.
ACS has now hosted several kitchen kit giveaways in Northern California towns, including Yuba City, Orville, and Chico, and Gridley. The giveaways drew the attention of several news organizations, including KRCR News, who interviewed Sargent during their kitchen kit giveaway at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds in Chico. At each giveaway, survivors are directed to look for a red trailer with the disaster response logo.
Working along with ACS to help meet survivors’ needs are other organizations and groups.
“St. Vincent de Paul has provided some things like laundry baskets, mops and brooms, toilet brushes, and cutting boards,” Sargent said. According to Sargent, the kits weigh around 40 lbs., and these timely kits are serving as one crucial way to help return life to normal for survivors and their families. “These survivors have been eating out, or when they live with family or friends, it’s not the kind of food they’re used to eating,” she said. “They get to feel a sense of normalcy when they can make their own meals again.”
As a disaster relief organization, Adventist Community Services was present in the Camp Fire’s immediate aftermath—but their ministry continues as they help provide longer-term support for the survivors still working to put the basic pieces of their lives back together.
This summer, ACS hosted kitchen kit giveaways in Northern California towns, including Yuba City, Orville, and Chico, and Gridley. The kits included mixing bowls, silverware, pots, knives, and glasses—all items that have become needs now that Camp Fire survivors are transitioning into more permanent housing. (Photo by Charlene Sargent)