A Look Inside an Organization that Helps Families Sift Through Rubble after Wildfires

REDDING -- As the sun rose on day 16 of the Carr Fire, the battle against the flames raged on.

But for some, the clean-up effort was just beginning.

Gloria Shaw stood in what was left of the kitchen she used to cook dinner in every night.

"The kitchen and then the living room and then you go down the hall and then there was a laundry room, as you can tell by the washer and dryer," Shaw pointed out amid the ash.

Just days after the wildfire destroyed the home she's spent her entire life in, Gloria and her husband sifted through the rubble for the first time, trying to salvage anything that survived the flames.

"Probably just some jewelry that my mom ... My mom's or mine ... Because I lost my wedding ring too, so," Shaw said.

But they were not rummaging through the ash on their own. People from across the nation are searching alongside them, volunteering with an organization called Samaritan's Purse.

"We just cordon out an area with the flags," said volunteer team leader David Elliott. "We send people in with sifters and the wheelbarrows and they just start having at it."

The disaster relief group is based out of North Carolina but many of the volunteers live right in Redding.

"You see it in pictures but it doesn't compare to seeing it in person," said volunteer Eileen Lee. "So any little thing that I can pick up, move, help others to help them, that's what I'm going to do."

Lee says as devastating as the Carr Fire has been, it's also brought the Redding community closer.

"I think it's pulled us together in so many ways. Just being here I think helps them," she said.

They're not just helping homeowners find some of their belongings but also find some closure too.

"Yeah, there's a lot of things we're going to miss and wish we still had but it's OK," Shaw said. "We're all alive. We're all well. We'll be OK."

Samaritan's Purse is always looking for more volunteers. They meet for a brief orientation at Redding Christian Fellowship every morning at 7:30. You can find more information on their website.

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