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'Everybody's Come Together': Church Gathers Army of Volunteers to Help Those Stranded by Deadly California Fires

11-13-2018
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The deadly Camp Fire in Northern California has stolen 42 lives and destroyed more than 6,000 homes. 

East Ave Church in Chico has become the "go-to" spot to provide fire victims with shelter, supplies, and the love they need to help them get on their feet. 

"We have opened our gym for anyone who is displaced from the Camp Creek Fire. We are taking donations and putting volunteers to work as well," the church says in a statement on its website.

The church has been flooded with countless donations and Pastor Ron Zimmer says the number of supplies they have received is growing at "every moment."

A YouTube video shows dozens of cases of water, clothes, shoes, and other aid. Comcast is also proving wifi and television service for the families stranded in the shelter. 

"If you're displaced we have water, food, clothing, blankets, pillows. Anything that you need, you can get it here so come on down," Simmer says in the video.

The church even has enough room and food for peoples' pet dogs. 

East Ave Church has received so much, they've stopped accepting general donations until they get a chance to sort what they've already been given. 

"We will let you know what we need specifically as needs a arise," a Facebook post reads. "We DEFINITELY need monetary donations to help offset the cost of running the shelter as well as providing for the guests who will be starting to figure out a long-term solution for this crisis."

"Everybody's come together to make this all happen. People keep coming up to me and saying, 'You've been doing such a great job organizing stuff.' I haven't organized anything honestly. People keep showing up and being awesome at what they do. This place is community funded and community-led," Zimmer says. "I'm so grateful for everybody who has shown up here. So, please keep coming."

The church's Facebook page is also flooded with messages from worried relatives searching for their missing family members. 

"We are so sorry if you haven't gotten a response! We are struggling to keep up. Our FB messages some are in the hundreds," a Facebook post says. 

"If you are looking for a family member or friend, we will do our best to find out if they're a guest here."

Meanwhile, the fire continues to rage and threaten the lives of countless other Californians. 

It's already decimated the town of Paradise and is headed towards the town of Oroville. Emergency responders believe many people are missing and expect the death toll to rise. 

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