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The operation was an organized one. On one side of the warehouse, a stream of donations was constantly coming in and being sorted. On the other side, Camp Fire survivors were coming in to pick up non-perishable food items, fresh food such as milk, eggs, cheese, and meat, as well as blankets, pillows, diapers, formula, new clothes and more. People were coming all day, every day. At times, during the early days of the fire, there was a line as long as 30. While mostly families, we were seeing people of all ages.
Once checked in, each person or family was given a shopping cart and goes around the warehouse with a volunteer, filling up their carts with whatever specific items they need. When available, they were also able to receive gift cards to local retailers.
Many volunteer groups participated. Raley’s provided two freezer trucks to store the fresh food, and they also donated food. Denny's came to provide on-site breakfast.
The overall mood at the distribution center was calm and full of gratitude. Even after the horrible experience of the fire, the distress and shock seemed to subside while survivors were there. Staff and volunteers, too, were in good spirits, as they worked to keep things running smoothly. Salvation Army Officers were even able to provide emotional and spiritual support to those who were open to it. See video below.