New Homes Rise on Butte-Ravaged Land

By Friends & Neighbors September 15, 2016 21:12

calaveras-recoversSomething remarkable is rising from the ashes of the Butte Fire – help and hope provided by caring neighbors.

Calaveras Recovers, a nonprofit organized in the fire’s aftermath to help its hundreds of victims, reports two homes under construction on the burn. Work will begin on at least 10 more by mid-fall, says spokeswoman Kathy Campbell.

Keys to the effort are more than $500,000 in donations the nonprofit has received, along with work donated by members of several churches.

Volunteer workers from the Calaveras Mennonite Church are now building two homes in the Mountain Ranch area. Others will be built by volunteers from Sutter Creek’s Church of the Nazarene, the North American Mennonite Disaster Service and World Renew, a faith-based group headquartered in Michigan.

“We have literally been blessed,” says Campbell, adding that dozens of volunteers from the U.S. and Canada will arrive in Calaveras County in the coming months.

Most of those receiving the homes – each a basic 960-square-foot, two-bedroom model – are uninsured fire victims without money or government aid to rebuild.

“Most of them are old, many are on their own and they just couldn’t afford insurance,” says Campbell, adding that Calaveras Recovers (209-754-4606, will likely build 30 to 40 similar homes in all.

The nonprofit recently learned of a $200,000 award from the Calaveras Community Foundation’s Disaster Relief Fund (209-736-1845, It’s part of the more than $500,000 donated to the fund in the past year, says Treasurer Brent Harrington.

The fund has allocated $286,000 to about a dozen community groups providing a vast range of help and support to fire victims, he says. That money has met many needs: housing, storage, food, clothing, animal care, erosion control, school-based services and much more.

“We’re still taking donations,” says Harrington, noting that many residents are still dealing with the fire’s devastating impact. “We look at this as a long-term effort.”

Copyright © 2016 Friends and Neighbors Magazine

By Friends & Neighbors September 15, 2016 21:12
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