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One Year Later: Thomas Fire

December 7, 2018

 *(Thomas Fire Fundraiser)

 

"Disaster doesn't sort us out by preferences; it drags us into emergencies that require we act, and altruistically, bravely, and with initiative in order to survive or save the neighbors, no matter how we vote or what we do for a living."

~Rebecca Solnit in A Paradise Built in Hell

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The devastating Thomas Fire (12/4/17) had much to teach. So many questions quickly entered the fold: What to do? Where to go? How to help?  As a #HappyFriday initiative, WE RAISED a shade under $10,000 for 12 victims throughout Ventura County. The willingness of complete strangers to show compassion and lend a helping hand was uplifting and inspirational. We showed solidarity not only in Ventura, but throughout the country from generous donations. With that said, I wanted to take today to share photos, poetry, and thoughts on how people rallied around the city, and people, of Ventura County in the most trying of times. 

 

 

 

(2/3) "In the wake of an earthquake, a bombing, or a major storm, most people are altruistic, urgently engaged in caring for themselves and those around them...Without orders or centralized organization, people step up to meet the needs of the moment, suddenly in charge of their communities and streets." ~Rebecca Solnit in A Paradise Built in Hell

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I stayed up till 5am that first night until I felt safe to sleep. Then I began writing, and sent out a #HappyFriday email blast to people who could possibly help. Then it was on. Money POURED in because people were taken aback by the visual destruction. As soon as the money came in though, I had to get it out. That's one of the biggest lessons to fundraising on a large scale. Unfortunately so many were struggling, so I reached out to a dear friend @matilijamtnmama and we joined forces to reach those hardest hit by the fire. A rag-tag team duo, we bought a used car, paid for short term rentals, and acted as emergency funds. *We gave only to those whose house/apartment burned down.*

 

 

 

(3/3) "Disasters provide an extraordinary window into social desire and possibility, and what manifests there matters elsewhere, in ordinary and extraordinary times...These accounts demonstrate that the citizens any Paradise would need- the people who are brave enough, resourceful enough, and generous enough- already exist." ~Rebecca Solnit in A Paradise Built in Hell

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The generosity displayed during those first few days, coupled with seeing the subsequent fires throughout California recently reminded me of how disaster intersects with human nature- specifically our ability to empathize and give. We all have the will to help when called upon- and graciously that was evident in Ventura. Fires are far from over out west, and in the east, hurricane season will only get worse. So I hope that our sense of community is something that sticks. Thank you to everyone who rallied, we couldn't have helped so many without your proaction and passion.

 

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