The Camp Fire in Butte County—which just recently was declared 100 percent contained—is the deadliest fire in California history, killing 88 people as of Nov. 27, with more than 200 still unaccounted for. It burned more than 153,000 acres, destroyed more than 18,000 homes and commercial buildings, and devastated the town of Paradise as well as nearby Concow and Magalia.
While Sierra Central CU's branch in Paradise was "virtually untouched" by the Camp Fire, five of the branch's six employees lost everything, according to CEO John Cassidy. In addition, several of the credit union's 3,900 members in Paradise have been affected. The credit union has granted 140 payment extensions as well as 41 emergency loans so far.
"I want to thank you all for your calls of support and well wishes," Cassidy said in a recent email. "So many of you have been asking how you can assist the victims of the Camp Fire."
Sierra Central CU has partnered with its long-time spokesperson and former Sacramento King, Harold Pressley, and his Treat‘em Like a King (TLK) Foundation—which along with California Assemblyman James Gallagher and successful business leaders throughout the affected areas—is trying to get much-needed dollars and resources to families and individuals directly affected by the fire. Sierra Central donated $20,000 to the SCCU/TLK Foundation Camp Fire Relief Fund. One hundred percent of funds collected will be distributed through local non-profit organizations to Camp Fire survivors.
So far business partners, companies, and credit unions have pledged $200,000 to the fund. But with nearly 14,000 homes destroyed, much more is needed.