CHICO (CBS13) — Many in Paradise have either lost their homes or have been displaced by the Camp Fire.
Volunteers at East Avenue Church are going the extra mile to help those in need but also dealing with some who actually don’t need assistance.
“We have a nine-month pregnant woman with no prenatal care. We have babies here,” Birgitte Randall said.
She’s been working to help sick evacuees at the shelter.
“In three or four days we formed an entire medical team where we have med runners, we’ve created charts on every single patient, she said.
They even set up a command center.
“We have a patient in a parking lot that had end-stage lung disease. We have a patient who’s living in their truck,” she said.
Some of the patients at the shelter need more help than the church or volunteer nurses can give. For example, one of them needs a bariatric bed.
“[We need] somewhere with more 24-hour care that can watch him and take care of him,” nurse Whitney Hansen said.
“These people are going to be displaced for the next six months to a year or longer,” she said.
When she says “these people,” Randall is also referring to herself.
“I lost my house and my job in a day,” she said.
Randall and her mother, both nurses, fled from Feather River Hospital in Paradise as the fire damaged parts of the building. Instead of looking for shelter or help, they started looking for people to help.
“We came here and said, ‘we’re nurses, the three of us,’ and I thought they were all going to cry,” her mother Denise Gundersei said.
It hasn’t been easy since they arrived. They’ve had to deal with people posing as evacuees and a lack of medical supplies, but they say they’ll continue to do the best they can.
“The population in Paradise is elderly and have chronic health issues. We have no medical team. This is just us volunteering,” Randall said.
The nurses said they do need is a pharmacist who can help write prescription medications. They say, ‘if you’re out there, show up.”