“How can I help?”
Many loving souls are reaching out because they know several people who have lost everything in the blink of an eye because of the Carr Fire.
It is hard to be honest about what we need, because it is so much easier to give than to receive. But because I love our beautiful community, I will have the courage to open my heart to you.
How to best help your friends whose homes and everything in it are ash now
1. Text, or post your love. This has been my biggest boost. You cannot say or type the wrong thing if your love is there it will shine through what you type.
2. Offer a place to stay to someone displaced, if you have room. It is so strange to suddenly be homeless and have every hotel full. We are incredibly grateful for our sister Kris and her hubby Jason who hosted our entire Bass/Kaplan family because we were all evacuated. If you know of a rental available (especially furnished) let them know ASAP. These go fast in such a disaster!
3. Gift cards for places like Target or Costco are great, because they have food and clothing, as well as other household necessities such as toothbrushes pet supplies, etc.
Since they no longer have an address to send these cards, just Google their workplace address. Venmo or PayPal, ApplePay, etc offer direct transfers super fast, with no fees. You just need their phone number or email for those.
Here’s the thing. People who lose their homes have to wait for the adjuster to walk the lot and confirm destruction before they pay anything. This could take several weeks or months as they don’t clear destruction zones until cleanup has rendered the area safe.
In the meantime, many families may not have money to get school supplies for their kids, as well as basic things to live until insurance kicks in. Some might be under-insured. Keep in mind they may feel awkward to tell you their needs. I have realized it is not easy to receive, it feels more natural to give. For general help to all displaced, text CARRFIRE to 91999
4. Please don’t be upset if they don’t answer your calls or messages right away. There are a million things happening and running through their minds. Many of us don’t have access to a shower, so we may not want to go in public. It is a lot of pressure to look nice when your beauty stuff (creams, hair gels, curling irons, makeup, face creams) has burned. Please don’t be hurt if they reject your offer to meet you out for lunch or dinner while displaced.
5. Understand emotions are everywhere and we all did the best we could when it was time to pack up and go. There are moments of, “I should have...” that are extremely hard and FREQUENT. This is the hardest part for me, personally, because I was out of town working when our home was consumed. It tears me up that I wasn’t there.
Please don’t say something like, “Why did you go to work that day? You should have been home packing up.”
We need support and need to convince ourselves we did the best we could with the information we had at that moment. We need love and understanding more than anything. Of course, we have a million regrets, it hurts when our loved ones magnify them.
6. Thank every firefighter and officer you see. They love hugs, especially if they are dirty, lay one on them.
Julie Bass Kaplan is a proud mother of three children and two adult step-children. She and her husband Jory own Disappearing Act Laser & Skin Rejuvenation in Redding, which is in its 20th year of business. Julie enjoys being a Certified Aesthetic Nurse Specialist and traveling around the world to teach the art and safety of Botox and facial fillers. Julie loves to spend time with her family, hike, paint and explore various types of art. She is currently attending Sonoma State University's Family Nurse Practitioner program and will graduate in May, 2019.Click here for more fire stories.