As hazy red sunlight filtered through the smoky air in Chico, California, volunteer Michelle Graydon told us about the unimaginable five days since the Camp Fire flared up. “This just came on faster than anyone could ever have imagined.”

When Michelle and her husband Jim realized what was happening, they reached out to neighbors whose horses were in trouble and helped relocate the frightened animals. She quickly learned the magnitude of the destruction, and heard that her son’s best friend lost his home in Magalia, the next town over from Paradise. They invited their friend and his young family to stay in their basement, happy to do whatever they could to help.

When Michelle heard that World Central Kitchen was setting up an operation in Chico, she was the first to volunteer – she’s been following our work since Chef José set up kitchens in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria last September.

This organization has meant a lot to me over the last year,” Michelle said. “I think the hard part was realizing that World Central Kitchen had to come here, to my community. It’s a tonic to be able to get involved, though – it feels good to be able to jump in, do something.”

Thanks to the help of incredible volunteers like Michelle, we have served over 50,000 meals to victims of the Camp Fire in Northern California and the Woolsey Fire in Southern California. But the need is still great — both fires are less than 50% contained, and thousands of families and first responders are relying on our Chef Relief Team’s daily delivery of hot, fresh meals.

Help us support the people of California by making a donation to our relief efforts below. We can’t do it without you!