Concow Couple Lifts Neighbors’ Spirits after Camp Fire With Home-Cooked Meals

CONCOW -- Every night at supper time, you’ll find Teri Rubiolo dishing out a message.

“People need to know they’re loved and cared about,” Rubiolo said. “It’s that simple.”

A warm meal for anyone in Concow who needs it.

“I absolutely love Jesus and he set the example when he had compassion and fed the multitudes. So I just want to try and follow in his footsteps the best I can,” she said.

Roughly three years ago, she and her husband, John, started “I Am’s Garden” to feed the homeless in their town -- not realizing they’d soon be without a home too.

“That's when we lost everything,” Rubiolo said.

The morning of Nov. 8, the Camp Fire tore through their community. It remains the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history.

“It was raining fire on us, all around here,” Rubiolo said.

They barely escaped with their lives.

“I got out with the clothes on my back,” John Rubiolo said.

Their home is now ashes, but they still came back.

“Because the people are still the same. They're still my family,” Teri told FOX40. “I was taking care of them before then. I knew they would be back here and that they would still need us even more.”

Living out of a trailer on their burned down property, she now makes close to 100 meals a day.

“I had three stoves and ovens in my other house. Big difference for me,” Teri Rubiolo said.

It's no small feat in their tiny trailer powered by a generator.

“I usually start between 9 and 10 in the morning,” Teri said.

They let neighbors come do laundry, take a shower or get a free change of clothes, all donated from nonprofits and food banks.

John even drives meals out to people who can’t travel to them.

“The deliveries went way up,” he said.

For neighbors like Nicole Newman, it means everything.

“You can see the love that she puts into her food,” Newman said. “I mean, I’ve never had bad food from her.”

Newman also lost her home in the fire.

“It was really hard. I lost everything that I ever worked for and it’s hard to start over because you don’t know what’s going to happen,” Newman said.

Now living in an RV, most days her family would be eating canned food if not for the Rubiolos.

“Because it’s hard to make a meal in a little trailer,” she said.

“We have everything from a 96-year-old man, to veterans, to families that we’re delivering too,” Teri said.

And they don’t plan to slow down anytime soon.

“I’ll feed an army if it helps one,” she said.

After all, now more than ever, people in Concow need some extra help to feed their families and their spirits.

“It’s a special people up here. Mountain people are special people,” Teri Rubiolo told FOX40. “So we’re here doing what we can do to help.”

I Am’s Garden is entirely run by donations from private donors and food banks.

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