ROSEVILLE (CBS13) – Families displaced by the Camp Fire got a holiday surprise in Roseville Wednesday night. A donation drive at Olympus Jr. High School provided clothing, bedding and a free meal for hundreds just in time for the holidays.
“We didn’t pack that many clothes because we just thought ‘Oh, it’s just a small fire it’s going to go through,” said RaeLynn Russell. “Our house isn’t going to burn down.”
The nine-year-old Russell put on a brave face for her family. “About to be 10, on Dec 9th,” she told CBS13.
She has been staying in a Roseville hotel with her mom and sister for weeks with next to nothing. Today she met strangers who didn’t want her family to be empty handed on her birthday.
“We got cards like a 500 hundred dollar gift card, cookies, little presents!” she said.
Crystal Irwin came to the event to adopt families for Christmas.
“You know, nobody asked for the stuff that’s happening to them and if it was my family, I’d have a hard time asking for help,” said Irwin.
Russell was one of more than 200 people displaced by the Camp Fire in Roseville now overjoyed to get the basics like blankets, pillows, shoes, and clothing, that they’ve been without.
“Rather than bringing things to Paradise, we have to find pockets of victims and bring things there,” said Michele Horner with Sonoma County Fire Relief.
Her nonprofit, which is now assisting in Butte County, coordinated the donation effort along with the Bailey Baio Angel Foundation. Foundation President Renee Baio brought $12,000 in giveaways after her friend lost it all in in the flames.
“They’re volunteering and they’ve lost everything,” she told CBS13. “That moves me.”
The grand prize Wednesday night was a free camper trailer. It seems the raffle chose just the right person in Beverly Ellefson.
“I lost my husband five and a half years ago and then lost my house so this is like, ‘are you serious?’” she said. “I really won this?”
And after a month of misery, this may be her light at the end of the tunnel.
“It means the world to me to know that I have something that’s going to be mine,” Ellefson said.