In California, an Example of 'What Thanksgiving's About'

Businesses, volunteers teaming up to provide meal to those displaced by Camp Fire
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 22, 2018 4:48 AM CST
Community Steps Up to Help Wildfire Evacuees Have Thanksgiving
Katherine Clement prepares bagged lunches for firefighters as she works with the nonprofit World Central Kitchen, which is also hosting a Thanksgiving meal for people displaced by the Camp Fire, on the campus of California State University, in Chico, Calif., Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018.   (AP Photo/Kathleen Ronayne)

The Camp Fire in northern California has killed at least 83 people, with the number rising daily, and has displaced tens of thousands of others. Hundreds are unaccounted for. It won't be a normal Thanksgiving for any of those families, but businesses and hundreds of volunteers have stepped up to ensure turkey, potatoes, and pie are available as a small slice of comfort for anyone who wants a plate, the AP reports. Washington, DC-based nonprofit World Central Kitchen is cooking 15,000 Thanksgiving meals, teaming up with Chico-based Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., the local university, and the town of Paradise to serve them Thursday. Volunteers prepared food and set up massive tables Wednesday.

"It will be a respite from the frantic activity of trying to put our lives back together and our town back together," Paradise Mayor Jody Jones says. Scores of volunteers are opening their houses to strangers. Rachael Anderson is hosting a displaced mom and daughter at her home in Redding, about an hour and a half from Paradise. Anderson knows what it's like to live in a community devastated by flames—a massive wildfire swept through Redding last summer. She didn't lose her home, and she now wants to share it with others in need. "They've lost their home, their traditions, whatever it is that they do. I just want to give them a little piece of home," Anderson says. "That's what Thanksgiving's about; it's not just about your blood family—it's about giving thanks and helping each other." (This dying toddler got a "Thanksgiving miracle.")

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