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'We've Seen the Kindness of God': Army of Volunteers Bring Hope to California Fire Victims

08-08-2018
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While many Northern Californians grapple with the trauma of losing everything in the Carr fire, thousands of volunteers have become an army of hope. 

"We've just experienced an abundance of generosity both from churches and local organizations serving here in Redding," Jordan Pacilio, the director of Bethel Global Response, told CBN News. "We've had a distribution center here at Bethel church that's really been underneath the covering of the Salvation Army. We've been able to serve about 5,200 people with about 3,800 volunteers."

Mercy Chefs partnered with the Salvation Army to provide more than 20,000 meals to fire victims, first responders, and volunteers. Local businesses have also contributed to the many supplies which include everything from canned food to diapers, clothes, bed linens and towels.  

Convey of Hope, a faith-based non profit based in Springfield, Missouri, provided three tractor trailer loads of food, water and emergency supplies. The organization has given close to 100,000 pounds of masks, toilet paper, snacks, diapers, and other aid. 

"We want this to just be an experience that's peaceful for them, that has people walk alongside them through the process," Pacilio said. "We're seeing people just show up. Some of them might have been evacuated themselves and coming in saying 'I want to help. How can I be of help.'"

One Bethel church volunteer reached out to CBN's Instagram with the user name goedeckepaul to ask for prayers. 

"Please continue to pray for our Town of Redding. All of us are in shock with the 1100 families without a homes. The smoke is awful. But tons of good is happening here through the people meeting other people's needs. Pray for us who are @bethel church members who are volunteering at the distribution center ministering to the practical needs. We are putting in long hours dealing with the 100 degree heat and smoke in the air. We all want the love of God to be poured out to our neighbors," he said. 

One of the biggest tasks is sifting through the wreckage left by the fire. Not all of the homes have been completely burned, so volunteers will go with the victims to their destroyed homes to find anything the fire left behind. 

"I actually see it as a ministry of hope," Pacilio shared. "We've seen things, people finding wedding rings they thought were left behind, different momentos...those precious items are a ministry of hope to them."

Bethel Church has also pledged to give $1,000 to every family whose home was burned in the fire.

Pacilio said the church will continue to meet physical and spiritual needs in the months ahead. Through it all, she knows God is with California. 

"Even in the midst of this horrific situation we've just seen the kindness of God. We just do see the comfort of the Lord," she concluded. 
 

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