We have all been effected by the 2018 Butte County Camp Fire. Every member of this organization lost their homes, businesses and friends. We have chosen to dig in and help with aid and recovery anywhere we can. We had From the Ground Uppers by day 3 of the fire, sending us hundreds of blankets, tents, tarps, sleeping bags and respirators. Thank you! Groups like The Pollination Project and The Fruit Guys Community Fund stepped up immediately with funding to rebuild our community garden that we lost at the campground. Thank you!
Our biggest partners in this project have been the North Valley Community Foundation and the Butte Strong Fund. They helped us provide $25,000 in gift cards to fire families. They immediately helped us provide $25,000 in car repairs, windshields, hearing aids, glasses, tires and so much more to these families.
Then when we came to them with our crazy idea of a mobile sawmill to turn the communities burned trees into lumber, they helped us make this a reality. We have been milling wood for free in the Concow area so far. So much more to do. Then we realized as we milled wood for families, all of the other ways these small mountain communities could use help.
Well, here we came again with our wild ideas. NVCF helped us purchase a John Deere tractor/backhoe, trailer to carry it safely, as well as, a dump truck to move it all around. Each piece of equipment has to have multiple uses to maximize our purchases. That's how we do more with less. All equipment is now up the hill and working in the area. The equipment is available, like the mill, for free to fire families to help with rebuilding needs. Give us a minute and we're on our way.
And then, none of it would matter if it wasn't for the amazing crew of volunteers who stepped up through the hot summer and milled wood for their neighbors. We salute you! Thank you all so much!
Butte County has suffered 5 declared disasters in 5 years. We got lucky in the 2016 Canyon Fire. In 2017, the Oroville Dam failed and massive evacuations. In 2018, the Camp Fire happened. 58,000 people were burned out of their homes that devastating day. In 2019, along came COVID19. We all know about the destruction to these families as jobs were lost and businesses closed. And 2020 brought with it another devastating fire, the North Complex or as we called it, the Bear Fire.
These families were already in survival mode. They lost jobs from fire, went back to work, lost jobs again from COVID. They go back to work and shut down again with new business restrictions.
The one thing that has not changed since the Camp Fire on November 8th, 2018, is that families are still in survival mode. Few are in rebuild mode. Basic needs are still food, gasoline for extra traveling and generators, propane for heating, cooking and hygiene. Every system in Butte County is over taxed and families are truly struggling.
From the Ground Up has grown significantly since the fire as we found other ways to help, but our main goal is still to feed and educate folks. We went from growing and distributing about 8,000 - 10,000 pounds of food annually, to 90,000 pounds of food grown, acquired and distributed in 2020.
We have distributed $50,000 in gas and propane gift cards. We have given out over $40,000 in grocery gift cards. We have paid for $25,000 in car repairs, medical devices, glasses, prescriptions, motel rooms, etc. And anything else we can dream up. The needs are substantial still.