OROVILLE, Calif. (KTXL) — As thousands of people remain displaced from devastating wildfires across California, people who lost everything in the 2018 Camp Fire are coming together to help get other survivors back on their feet.
“Like my whole life for the first six months was tirelessly just driving places to get resources,” explained Elizabeth Jearnberg, the owner of E&J’s Mobile Kitchen. “The most important thing for me when we were evacuated was a good hot meal.”
Jearnberg and her husband lost their mobile business in the Camp Fire, but with donations from Bayside Church in Roseville, they’ve been able to reopen their mobile kitchen.
“One promise I did make to that entire family at that church was that I am going to continue to give back what you guys gave to me,” Jearnberg said.
And, just a few weeks ago, the couple heard news that sounded all too familiar.
“When the fire happened here for the Bear Fire, the high winds, just the exact way that it happened, I guess it’s kind of like a PTSD thing,” Jearnberg said. “And it went right to the heart and I was like ‘I’m going to go help.’ And there was no question about it. I just looked at my husband and was like, ‘Load up the trailer. We’re going to go help.'”
It’s that familiar pain that brought them to a warehouse in Oroville, serving up hot meals for Bear Fire survivors.
And they were not the only ones who came to help.
“We know what people are going through, and that’s what, when we teamed up with E&J and Global Empowerment, we said, ‘We can do something here,'” Richard Mossell explained.
Mossell, the CEO of Paradise Gleaners, is also a Camp Fire survivor.
Now, he works tirelessly to get resources to other people who have lost everything in wildfires.
“And in the event that we’re needed, we load up our trucks and the lunch wagon and head out,” Mossell said.
It’s a position he never thought he’d be in, but he said helping others has been part of his healing process.
“It has empowered me, and it’s made me feel a lot better about things, being able to pay it forward,” Mossell explained.
This effort is an alliance of survivors helping survivors, and in the process, finding their own peace.
“The further we keep going, more people want to join us, and we welcome anybody to come join us because we could use all the help we can get,” Jearnberg explained. “My therapy in life is, like I said, to give back.”