This Program Allows People To 'Adopt' Paradise Fire Families
Amidst the devastation, one couple created a way that people can help those who lost everything to the Paradise fire
As firefighters continue working to contain the Camp Fire blaze in and around Paradise, California, the families that survived the deadly fire are now facing an uncertain future, many without any possessions or necessities past the few items they had when they ran for their lives. The fire, which destroyed an estimated 12,000 homes, also took with it even the simplest means of communication for many left homeless.
That’s where Eric and Heather Lofholm stepped in: a couple from nearby Rocklin, California, who felt they couldn’t stand by and watch without helping.
The couple originally started a Facebook page where families affected by the fires could gather and ask for support. They then started a website, Paradise Fire Adopt A Family, that further connects families as well as listing resources for those who need them.
“We felt the tug to reach out and make a difference,” Eric Lofholm told local station KXTV. “We’re doing one thing at a time.”
The pull to help began when the couple realized that usually neighbors help one another out, but in this case, almost the entire community has burnt to the ground, and neighborly love has to come from further afield.
“There are no neighbors, everyone’s lost their home. So it’s up to people like us to help them,” Lofholm told local news channel FOX40.
The Lofholms, who live about 90 minutes away from fire-affected Butte County, have driven to the scene of the disaster and met with families face-to-face to determine their needs. They’ve even created a survey so that families can get exactly the support they need from people who want to do their part.
The needs of the families who are posting on the Facebook page vary, from those who are asking for transportation, to those with medical needs, to those who literally need beds to sleep in. Some link to GoFundMe pages, while others have simple Amazon wish lists with basics like coffee pots and toothbrushes. Still others are asking for books and classroom resources as the schools struggle to reopen after the fires.
On the other side, helpers are donating in all forms. According to ABC News, money is just one way that people were chipping in. A massage therapist donated her skills to the stressed families, while others are donating food and clothes.
For their own part, in addition to organizing their greater efforts, the Lofholms are also “adopting” a family of their own from the fire.
“I can’t help thousands of people but I can help one family,” Eric Lofholm told Fox40.
If you’d like to adopt a family, here’s how.