Sunday, February 12, 2017, was a tough day for many people in Northern California after some very heavy showers damaged Oroville’s most prominent dam. Heavy rain throughout the winter season caused this spillway at the nation’s tallest dam. According to CNN at least 188,000 people were forced to evacuate their homes immediately after. The evacuation order made many people fear for their safety, possible property damage and question where they could go.
When the members of the Woodland, California area, neighbors to those affected by the spillway, learned about this situation they became concerned and urgently began to brainstorm ideas for ways to help those displaced. At first, the local fairgrounds in Woodland began to help evacuees establish shelter. Shortly after, families throughout the community began to welcome the evacuees in addition to donating items such as diapers for babies and food for animals.
Local businesses such as Las Brasas, El Patio and Father Paddy’s prepared and donated meals for those displaced families. Rudy Peniche from Las Brasas restaurant said, “It was a very hard first two days, I took charge of the coordination of meals. I donated burritos, Fajitas, and produce completely free to the community.”
When asked why he wanted to help, Patrick Redmond owner of Father Paddy’s stated, “Because it is what you do, I have done this my whole life I spent 24 years as a youth minister it is our job as humans to help humans.” El Patio manager Alex agreed with Redmond and said, “We weren’t looking to necessarily get anything back from helping, it just felt good to do good. Our staff was pleased and honored to have been able to help those struggling with whatever we had in our reach.”
The evacuees appreciated all the kind work and donations these businesses provided. Anna Sandoval, one of the displaced, kept an attitude of positivity and said, “In times like these, you can’t think straight and I am so grateful for the community in Woodland for taking care of me and my family. It shows how humans can come together in times of need.”
These actions instilled a sense of pride among the members of the Woodland community and made me feel proud to be part of a community whose actions were a result of pure and genuine concern for each other. The community made each other’s safety a top priority, without asking for anything in return.
Two days after the evacuees were given the authorization to return home. Patrick Redmond, of the Woodland community said, “It was a pleasure to serve them, the sense of knowing I did what I was supposed to do, was great.” This is a true testimony that in times of crisis a little kindness goes a long way. It is not only well received but it creates a ripple effect and harmony for everyone engaged.