Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 1453, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Catholic Charities’ wildfire relief efforts to continue for months to come

the Inland Register

(From the September 17, 2015 edition of the Inland Register)

Catholic Charities Spokane is committed to short- and long-term relief efforts in the Washington State areas devastated by this year’s wildfires. From left are Rob McCann, Executive Director of Catholic Charities Spokane; Father Luta Nsubuga, pastor of Our Lady of the Valley Parish in Okanogan; Tim Crabb, from Catholic Charities’ furniture bank warehouse; and Father Pedro Bautista-Peraza, pastor of the parishes in Brewster and Twisp. (IR photo courtesy of Catholic Charities Spokane)

On Aug. 21, at the height of the raging 2015 wildfire season, a Catholic Charities team took their first trip to Twisp, Brewster and Omak with a convoy of trucks loaded with food, water, blankets and towels, many donated by Providence Health Care.

The roads were hard to navigate with closures and blocked areas, but the Catholic Charities box truck filled with supplies was allowed to pass as the need for it to get through was obvious.

Grateful victims also received Visa gift cards for essentials such as diapers, medications and gasoline.

Now, as fires are slowly, but far from completely, contained, and the most devastating of all Washington wildfire seasons slips further and further from the headlines, the long-term impact on affected communities is realized.

“People are generous, so very generous in these times. We have witnessed resources flow in from many organizations and individuals,” said Rob McCann, Executive Director of Catholic Charities Spokane (CCS). “But as the attention dies down, we are called to plan for relief efforts that will continue for months to come.”

CCS is working with Catholic pastors and parishes, Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Yakima, and Catholic Community Services of Western Washington to survey the damage and assess and fill needs. Additionally, Catholic Charities USA will be delivering more blankets, towels, bottled water, protein bars, diapers and wipes, formula, personal hygiene items, sleeping bags, and tarps.

“Our faithful communities have donated generously, allowing us to serve many, especially migrant workers who may be afraid to ask other agencies or officials for help,” said McCann.

As of Sept. 9, Catholic Charities has dispatched “go teams” in the fire affected areas to specifically help the underserved and vulnerable populations like farmworkers and Native Americans. They will continue to seek out individuals and families that are in need of assistance to address short- and long-term needs with counseling, case work, housing, and emergency assistance.

“Once the initial fear, shock, and sadness of loss dissipates – whether it is the loss of a home, property, crops, or livelihood – we want to be there providing resources for rebuilding,” said McCann.

Donations for Wildfire Relief can be made at or by mailing a check to Catholic Charities – Attn: Wildfire Relief, P.O. Box 2253 Spokane, WA 99210-2253. 

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