My heart was heavy with fear and disbelief at the news of fires advancing on the California community I called home for 27 years. Text messages and hour-to-hour alerts on Facebook painted a grim picture of friends being evacuated from their homes, scrambling to find safety for their families and livestock.
“I’m trying to decide what to pack up!” Jana texted. “We’ve been in this home for so long.”
“So much with work (she supervises nursing care at a local retirement community) and home…and critters,” wrote my friend Chris. Thankfully, she was able to transport her beloved horse to a safe place.
Horse trainer and friend Sarah Clifford and her family were forced to evacuate their ranch and take their horses to stables in a fire-free zone. “What an amazing thing it was to arrive to bedded stalls and fresh water. A load of donated hay awaited us, too.”
Sarah goes on to thank all those who helped make this transition, including Willam Smith “who fed us pizza” and Bruce Vogt for evacuating the cattle as well. Her post finishes with “I love you all.”
In the midst of so much danger and uncertainty, what I see on all these messages are people rallying to help one another. Here are a few other excerpts:
“Donations of fresh and shelf stable foods have poured into the Carmel Valley Community Park. Until supplies run out, Tess Arthur and her team of locals will be serving ANY families displaced from fires and any fire fighters.”
“Chef Todd Fisher is preparing dinner again tonight at Carmel Middle School. Nightly dinners are planned until at least Tuesday.” (This was posted last Sunday.) “Come out and get a to-go container and pick up snacks and basic necessities. Please get the word out. We want to serve anyone in need.”
“Can you bring over 100 foot hoses to the Salinas Rodeo grounds? They are needed to get water to the horses and donkey.
“Laguna Seca Raceway has opened their hospitality pavilion as an evacuation relief center for those needing a place to regroup. Information, air conditioning, snacks and water are available from 8 am to 8 pm. Stay safe, everyone. We’re here for you.”
Food and safe water are essential for survival. Yet during trying times, they represent so much more.
“We pray in overwhelming situations,” friend and pastor Orville Myers posted. “Because there is so much that only God can do.” Let’s keep praying. And thank you to all who are His hands and feet during these devastating times.
Barbara Quinn is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator affiliated with Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula in California. She is the author of “Quinn-Essential Nutrition” (Westbow Press, 2015). Email her at to firstname.lastname@example.org.