Partners with Connecting Point to Assist 48 Households impacted by River Fire
In the two months since the August 4th River Fire burned 2,619 acres, destroyed fifty-four homes, and damaged nine others in Nevada County, the community raised over $260,000 to help wildfire survivors. Donations to the Nevada County Relief Fund came from over 600 generous local donors, businesses, and community groups including $77,500 from the Placer Community Foundation.
“Together, we’ve rallied to support our neighbors who lost their homes. Our community didn’t hesitate for a moment to support the River Fire survivors,” said Leo Granucci, Co-Chair of the Nevada County Relief Fund’s Community Advisory Council.
Community leaders stepped up to raise funds in a myriad of creative ways. The Nevada County Professional Fire Fighters donated $3,104 that they gathered in a boot at the County Fair. The Greater Alta Sierra Neighborhood Watch Group organized multiple yard sales to raise over $3,000, too. “We have a caring community, and our group was happy to rally around a good cause,” said Watch Group Coordination Jolly Lawson.
Many local businesses donated to the wildfire relief fund including Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply. “We were very pleased to help support the Nevada County Relief Fund with a $7,000 donation following the River and Bennet Fires. We offered a seed pack sale to our national customer base with 100% of proceeds going to local fire relief efforts, and they responded to help our community here in a big way,” said Peaceful Valley’s president, Bill Hageman.
The County of Nevada recognized the need to help devastated households recover from their losses and partnered with Connecting Point to provide case management services to River Fire survivors.
“‘Connecting Point’s River Fire Navigators’ have been working one-on-one with nearly fifty households to walk them through the recovery process, including applying for Nevada County Relief Fund monies,” said Tim Giuliani, Executive Director of Connecting Point.
The Navigators reviewed applications to the Relief Fund and recommended eligible applicants for funding. They have also helped survivors navigate the County, State, Federal re-building processes, connect them with all available resources, and provide a physical place to print, fax, email, and copy documents needed to hasten their recovery.
“We’ve spoken with so many people who needed funds to help replace prescription eyeglasses, bedding, clothing, kitchen items, shoes, etc. and they are so appreciative of the Relief Fund,” said Sarah Eastberg, Connecting Point’s Navigation and Employment Services Manager.
Sarah Eastberg shared some of the stories and appreciation she and her Navigator colleagues have heard since the fire:
Supporting the survivors with their recovery will take time. With winter coming, Connecting Point Navigators expect to draw on the Relief Fund to help survivors buy winter clothes, jackets, and boots. Many survivors are anxious to return home but must wait until the debris removal process is complete, the soil has been tested, and their property has been cleared as no longer hazardous and dangerous. The Navigators have spent a lot of time being a listening ear and managing the expectations of folks who thought they would be back on their land or rebuilding by now.
“Our Navigators have walked with survivors through every step of the very long process so far,” said Eastberg. “They have shared in people’s excitement in recovery as well as their frustration, sadness, and bewilderment as their own personal loss begins to weigh more heavily. We are looking forward to continuing through their journey of rebuilding over the next few years and providing clarity and peace to a very complicated process.”
Nevada County residents impacted by the River Fire can dial 2-1-1 (or 1-833-342-5211) to speak to a Connecting Point Navigator and explore the support available.
The Nevada County Relief Fund was created through a partnership between the County of Nevada, Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation, Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation, the Sierra Business Council, Center for Nonprofit Leadership, and the Economic Resource Council.
The Fund was established in April 2020 with a $100,000 “challenge grant” from the Nevada County Board of Supervisors to mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. Since then, the Relief Fund has raised $1.3 Million to help dozens of small businesses and nonprofits countywide. Last August, the Relief Fund raised over $30,000 for Jones Fire relief efforts.