Months after the Camp Fire destroyed her Paradise home and all her belongings, Sally Gallaway still has one thing left — the memory of almost dying.
“I called my mom first, told her there was nowhere to go,” she said. “I wasn’t going to make it, the car was filling up with smoke.”
With no home left in Paradise, Gallaway now lives in Placer County.
The building and everything inside is known as the South Placer Acting Resource Community, or SPARC.
“We just realized there was a need for a local place in South Placer County for the families that are staying here,” SPARC co-founder Darin Wissner said.
The SPARC building is owned by Saint Mathews Lutheran Church, but the church doesn’t need it until the spring. That means Wissner can fill it up with the essentials Camp Fire survivors need.
For Brian Reed, who deals with multiple sclerosis, losing his walker when his Magalia home burned was devastating. Then someone bought him a new one.
“And I am eternally grateful for that person,” he said.
SPARC has also helped Gallaway furnish her new home.
“I picked up a new dresser, I picked up a coffee table and towels,” she said.
Wissner says he’s only one of four people helping facilitate the center. While it’s a lot of work, Wissner says it’s worth it knowing the difference he and others are making for their new neighbors.
“You see the families come in here,” he said. “They love to come in here because it’s calm and easy.”