VALLEY SPRINGS, CA (September 13, 2015) – Good Samaritan Covenant Church has been living up to its name since the Butte Fire erupted last Thursday.
The congregation has served as an evacuation centers and provided shelter to more than a dozen people. Its food and clothes pantry has remained open around the clock. One of the congregants set up a grill to prepare lunch.
Good Samaritan has been working with several organizations, including the Red Cross and Salvation Army to provide food for the evacuees. Mitchell noted that he has had to do little organizing himself.
Members of the church just started doing what needed to be done, he explained. “It’s been amazing to see.”
State officials have issued mandatory evacuation orders to thousands of people. Several Covenant churches were unable to hold services today.
Some of the people who have sought assistance at Good Samaritan have been forced from their homes due to the thick smoke in the area. “What’s happening closer to the fire is that there is just so much smoke that breathing is impossible.”
The fire has scorched 65,000 acres since it started and spread through parts of Calaveras and Amador counties. According to California officials, So far, 86 homes and 51 outbuildings have been destroyed. Nearly 3,900 firefighters are battling the blaze. Officials added that 452 engines and 94 dozers are at the scene.
“In our 20 years, we’ve never seen anything like this,” Mitchell said.
The Modesto Bee has posted a series of photos from the church.