US (CA): Industry members lend aid to wildfire evacuees

Nearly a month after the deadliest wildfire in California’s recorded history began, it is fully contained, thanks in part to recent rains, which have also helped to make the smoke-filled air breathable again.

But the catastrophe is far from over for residents of Paradise, California, and surrounding communities. Thousands are living in makeshift shelters. Even those few whose homes and shops survived the firestorm have been unable to return. As often happens, florists are among those who have taken the lead in reaching out to victims of the fire.

“We have 50,000 people who fled their homes,” explained Pam Young of Cambray Rose Florist in Chico, California, “and thousands who had no place to go at all. Everyone I know, including myself, has been working in shelters. My new vocation is working with World Central Kitchen, an amazing organization. I have learned how to prep meals for 8,000 to 10,000 people a day! They’ll be here to help us out as long as we have those kinds of numbers — which we do anticipate, for a long time — because that’s what they do.”

Young still has her own flower shop to run, but like others, she said she is trying to help wherever she can. She also worked on an event to feed and honor first responders — firefighters, dispatchers, and police — on the Tuesday of Thanksgiving week, with flowers for centerpieces donated by Mayesh Wholesale Florist.

Read more at the Society of American Florists (Bruce Wright)

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