Bethel Church in California has said it will give the sum of $1,000 to every household whose home was destroyed in the Carr fire, Christian Post reports.
“We are incredibly blessed as a church by people all around the world praying for us, donating and supporting our community here in Redding. The generosity of gifts coming towards us is both humbling and much needed. Christians around the world are coming together and supporting a cause that is bigger than any one individual alone can carry,” the church said in a statement.
“When we first made the decision to give a financial gift for the people in our city who had lost their home, the numbers being reported were 150-200 homes. Within just three days, that number had climbed to over 1000 homes, and the amount we had expected to raise and give went from $200,000 to over $1,000,000 dollars.”
Redding and Shasta County residents qualify for the gift if the home was their primary residence. The Housing Authority also has to officially report the home as more than 50 percent destroyed. Also, the church will only give one $1,000 gift per household.
“$1,000,000 is a God-sized step of faith,” the church said. “We are believing Him for it, and are now in the process of reaching out to our friends around the globe to be the hands of Christ to our city in this moment. We are determined to honor this commitment, whether the generosity comes from gifts from the global community or from our own church finances.”
“We cannot begin to describe the feeling of helping someone who lost their home find something that they thought was gone forever. This is part of what it means to live like Jesus– to link hands together as we move forward,” the church said on its Facebook page.
Bethel’s announcement comes after some criticized the church for not opening facilities to evacuees. However, the Red Cross told reporters that Bethel had offered to become an evacuation site, but the property was too close to the fire zone. The church also has only one road in and out of the property. The church’s Bethel Global Response has a team called “Ash Out,” where volunteers help sift through the remains of homes to recover valuables.
The Carr Fire is a wildfire currently burning in Shasta and Trinity Counties in California, United States. As of August 8, 2018, the fire has burned 173,522 acres (702 km2; 271 sq mi) and is forty-seven percent contained. The Carr Fire is currently the sixth-most destructive fire in California history. The Carr Fire was reported on the afternoon of July 23, 2018, at the intersection of Highway 299 and Carr Powerhouse Road in the Whiskeytown district of the Whiskeytown–Shasta–Trinity National Recreation Area. The fire was started by a flat tire on a vehicle, which caused the wheel’s rim to scrape against the asphalt, thus creating a spark. Over 38,000 people have been evacuated.
The fire has destroyed 1,599 buildings, at least 1,077 of which were homes, and damaged an additional 282, with over 900 structures remaining threatened. Seven persons have died in the fire, including two firefighters, a great-grandmother and her two great-grandchildren, and an employee of Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E). Three firefighters have also been injured as at the time of this report.