Auburn Churches Extend Helping Hand for Victims of 49 Fire

Originally published in print and online at The Auburn Journal Sept. 8, 2009

This past week, many Auburn residents lost everything in the 49 Fire. Fortunately, local churches are working to help them get it all back.

Several churches are collecting food and clothing, though many take these donations to the Salvation Army and Red Cross and advise those looking to help drop off contributions directly with either group.

However, many places of worship have specific plans for helping fire victims.

At Bayside Auburn Church, Cheryl Brown, associate minister of impact ministries, had a long list of ways to help on Thursday.

“We have been involved from the get-go,” she said. “Our pastor offered the church as a place for evacuees to stay, and then we organized our church community to have a meeting.”

At the meeting, the congregation came together to decide where they could do the most good. One of the church’s small groups organized a “donation tree,” keeping a master list of items donated to the church.

Brown says that the county’s assistance center will be giving the church’s name to those seeking donations, and the small group will match up the need with the “donation tree.”

Brown also said they will be sponsoring a benefit concert organized by the group Speak With Love on Sept. 26.

The group is still looking for a venue to accommodate the large crowd they anticipate, Brown said. All proceeds of the event will go to the Red Cross and Salvation Army.

That evening from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the church’s Nevada Street location, they will host Hopequest, a time of prayer for the community and fire victims.

“It’s kind of a holistic day,” Brown said. “You can hear music, donate money, your time as a volunteer, or clothes, and then you can come in the evening for prayer…”

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