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Distribution Center Image

Distribution Center

Providing for Multitudes

In order to meet the mounting needs of Camp Fire evacuees, The Salvation Army turned a large, empty warehouse into a thriving distribution center in Chico. Its purpose was to sort items donated to the Army, and give them to Camp Fire survivors. Many companies and individuals donated essential items and gift cards for the cause.

The center provided items for more than 20,000 Camp Fire survivors.

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.

A Mom Gets Needed Items

“This is so sad. My kid has been crying; he wants to go home now. This assistance means a lot because I don’t have anything. It’s so important that people are able to get these things, so we don’t have to worry about getting a blanket, a pillow or some food.”

- Jazmin, Camp Fire Survivor



Video: Meeting the Needs of Evacuees