San Diego area churches help in fire recovery


SAN DIEGO, Calif. — As the smoke clears from San Diego's foothills and grasslands, hundreds of Christian volunteers have transitioned from rescue and relief into recovery mode.

Since the first San Diego fire Oct. 21, more than 600,000 people—20 percent of the county's population—were evacuated and 370,000 acres destroyed. In all, nearly 1,600 homes were lost just in San Diego County.

Losses were expected to top $2 billion in hard-hit San Diego County alone.

With all evacuation orders lifted in the county, the focus is on assisting the families who lost their homes. Below is a partial listing of some of the available resources.

FIRE RECOVERY UPDATES: (Please check daily for updates)

New Venture Christian Fellowship in North County is offering multiple various opportunities for the community to respond to the fires.
• Fire Survivors Relief Fund (through Dec. 2) — This will be available for those who wish to donate to families in desperate need.
• S.D. Chargers "We're In It Together" Benefit Night (Monday, Nov. 12) — 7:00 – 8:30pm on the campus on New Venture Christian Fellowship. Food by local vendors at 6:00 p.m.; Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with football highlights on big screens; 7 – 8:30 p.m. appearances by players. Autographs, photographs, donations collected for fire survivors.
• Home Clean-up Teams (through Nov. 21) — Contact New Venture if you'd like to be part of helping clean up homes that were not destroyed, but took a beating in recent fires, be a part of one of these groups that help put families and houses back together.
New Venture Christian Fellowship is at 4000 Mystra Drive in Oceanside. For more information contact Jim Lacy at 760.721.7777  or

• Since launching its fire relief work, Rescue Task Force has provided: Food for Volunteers and relief workers often working through the night, 600 Airbeds delivered to evacuation centers, truck loads of cots and blankets delivered to evacuation centers, tons of hay delivered to Lakeside Rodeo Grounds, Parkway Plaza shopping center and South Bay for evacuated horses, a generator supplied to East County for running water pumps for livestock, eight wheelchairs delivered to disabled evacuees, $25,000 delivered to Potrero Elementary School, $25,000 delivered to Deerhorn volunteer firefighters, $25,000 delivered to Intermountain volunteer firefighters, sewage pumping service for 45 motor homes at Lakeside Evacuation Center, $67,995 worth of clean-up equipment and personal supplies for victims purchased to date, $40,500 committed to burn victim and project partners to date, fork lift supplied to relief center for off loading semi truck and air compressor and industrial electrical supplies to Ramona Evacuation Center and LAC.

• Attorneys throughout San Diego County will provide free legal services for families whose lives have been affected by the recent wildfires. Legal issues faced by the fire victims will run the gamut from insurance coverage to landlord-tenant concerns to employment questions. The assistance program will connect people to experienced lawyers for advice. The lawyer assigned will not charge the client for his or her legal services, which will be available in both English and Spanish. Anyone affected by the wildfires may access legal assistance by dialing the toll-free FEMA-ABA/YLD disaster hotline at 1-866-636-9041. Additional legal resources for wildfire victims, including an application for assistance, can be found at the San Diego County Bar Association's website 

• The Home Depot and the American Red Cross are offering free wildfire recovery clinics from 3 to 4 p.m Nov. 11 and Nov. 18 at Home Depot stores at 12175 Tech Center Drive in Poway, (858) 668-1417, and 7530 Broadway in Lemon Grove, (619) 589-2999. For more Information visit and

• Habitat for Humanity is hosting a fire orientation meeting to identify potential HFH partner families at 6 p.m. Nov. 19 at their office, located at 10222 San Diego Mission Road in San Diego,  For more information, call Family Services at (619) 283-4663 , ext. 314.

• Fire survivors can get free "Out of the Ashes" recovery organizational totes for their files. Each portable, plastic tote contains pre-labeled hanging files and manila folders to help organize important forms, receipts and documents required during the recovery process. To request a tote, send e-mail to and include name, phone number and e-mail address, or call Connie Unger at (858) 245-9839.

• In His Steps Women's Recovery Home, which lost its facility in the Witch fire, is proceeding with its annual fund-raiser Nov. 17 at Mountain View Community Church. The organization is looking for donations to replace the ones lost in the fire. They are seeking donations of items like electronics and gift certificates. The goal is to raise as much money as possible to help the women's home rebuild. The ministry plans to rent a temporary facility while rebuilding. For more information about the auction or how to donate call (760) 788-4716 or e-mail Joy Corkill at Visit

• Beginning Nov. 6, The Village Church in Rancho Santa Fe is hosting a fire survivor's support group with Stephen Ministry leaders Tony and Holly Wilson. For more information, contact Pastor Jan Farley at Visit

• Green Valley Church, which has six families who lost homes in the Rancho Bernardo, Poway and Escondido areas, has launched an address-specific prayer ministry for those areas. According to Peggy Noe, every street was taken and each address is being covered in prayer from now at least until Christmas. The church, located at 11501 Rancho Bernardo Road, is on the edge of the devastated neighborhood of Westwood in Rancho Bernardo. The church also has a fire relief team that is working in the community. For more information, visit

• Maranatha Chapel, in partnership with Samaritan's Purse, is deploying teams to provide aid in cleanup and debris removal. The teams will help the uninsured with sifting through ash, recovering belongings, debris cleanup, tree removal and chipping. The teams are also supplying homeowners with shovels, rakes, masks, garbage bags, safety glasses, and metal garbage containers, etc. In addition to the uninsured, the team is also assisting the underinsured, elderly, single mothers, and the disabled. Volunteers are being sought. Homeowners needing assistance may call the hotline at (858) 244-2961. For more information, visit

• Laundry services will be offered free to victims in the Ramona area. Fire victims can get free laundry services through the Tide CleanStart program. A mobile laundry with 32 washers and dryers will be stationed at Mountain View Community Church, 1191 Meadowlark Way in Ramona. A team will be available to wash, dry and fold families' clothes for free from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. through Dec. 2.

• A "tent city" donated by Blackwater Worldwide has been erected on a half-acre of land across from the Barrett Junction Cafe near Dulzura. It will be ready to house up to 200 fire-displaced Dulzura-area residents. Nearly 10,000 pounds of boxes have arrived containing the tents and other supplies including televisions, a DVD player, a VCR, a microwave oven, sleeping bags, clothing, boots and a coffee maker. Trailers with men's and women's showers and one with three washing machines and three dryers will be available to local residents, even those who don't stay at the tent city. Each tent will have air conditioning, heating and lighting.

• The following beauty academies are offering fire victims free hair services, spa manicures and pedicures and facials through Nov. 30. For appointments, call Je Boutique College of Beauty, 1073 E. Main St., El Cajon, (619) 442-3407; The Poway Academy of Hair Design, 13266 Poway Road, (858) 748-1490 or Bay Vista College of Beauty, 1520 Plaza Blvd., National City, (619) 474-6607. Guests must present a photo ID, an American Red Cross voucher and a completed insurance claim form or other documentation from an agency such as FEMA. For more information, go to 

• About 25 local photographers have joined together for the Heirloom Project, an opportunity for families who lost their homes to fire to get new family portraits made free. Sessions can be scheduled for a year from the fire date. The site is More photographers are welcome to participate. See the site for details, or contact Melissa Schwartz at (866) 940-2288.

• Area pastors are coordinating their efforts by geographical regions. The goal is for each region to have at least one lead church, with others working along side. The following is a list of the regions. All but Fallbrook have a designated church or churches.

Valley Center area & Tribal Lands —150 families
Valley Center and tribal lands:
• Ridgeview Community Church - 760-751-9890 or

Tribal lands:
• Pauma Christian Fellowship (location of First Nations Ministry) - 888-560-6883 or (

Escondido area — 211 families
• Emmanuel Faith Community Church (Dave Hall) - 760-745-2541 or

Rancho Bernardo & Rancho Santa Fe — 403 families
Rancho Bernardo:
•Maranatha Chapel (headquarters of Samaritan's Purse) - 858-613-7800 or
• The Church at Rancho Bernardo - 858-592-2434 or
• Rancho Bernardo Baptist Church - 858-487-7676 or
• Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church (Jan Rasmussen) - 858-487-0811 or

Rancho Santa Fe:
• The Village Church (Jan Farley) - (858)756-2441 or
• Horizon Christian Fellowship North County (headquarters of the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team) - 858-756-5599 or

Ramona area — 431 families
• Mountain View Community Church, Jim Peila or Michael Raher, (location of Christ in Action and CityTeam work - 760-789-0866 or
• Neighborhood Baptist Church (location of So. Baptist work) - 760-789-2732 or
• Calvary Chapel Ramona (location of Samaritan's Purse) - 760-789-6031 or

Harris Fire Area — 213 families
Dulzura, Jamul, Potrero or Tecate:
• Shadow Mountain Community Church (Marcial Felan) - 619-440-1802 or
• Skyline Wesleyan Church (Nicole Renaud) - 619-660-5000 or
• Rescue Task Force (Andrea Stone) - 619-328-6511 or

Deerhorn Valley north of Dulzura:
• College Avenue Baptist Church (Jim Phalan) - 619-733-3202 and Stacey Muse - 619-885-3774 -

Fallbrook area — 211 families
No designated church

Poway area — 93 families
• The Gathering Place Christian Fellowship (Shell Cowper-Smith) - 760 740 1755 or The informational Web page is

If your church would like to be included as a resource in any of the fire areas, please e-mail

• The following items are requested by the Deerhorn Fire Station in South Jamul and can be dropped off at "Tent City," located at the intersection of Highway 94 and Barrett Lake Road. Contact Lily at She may be able to arrange a pick up if necessary. 

50 metal rakes
120 pairs of gloves (40 each of small, medium, large)
50 garden hoes
50 hatchets
50 wheelbarrows
50 push brooms
40 tarps
200 size D batteries
Ultra Pasteurized milk (as much as possible)
50 pairs of kneepads
50 muck buckets
100 boxes of large, heavy duty trash bags
100 large sponges
100 flashlights
100 heavy-duty garden hoses
100 nozzles
50 bottles of Restasis eye drops
Diabetic food
Low sodium food
Bath towel sets
Housewares including pots and pans
Cooking utensils
Shop rags (lots)

• Brian Willey, assistant Vice president/Relationship Manager at 1st Centennial Bank in Escondido is requesting bicycles and toys to replace those lost in the fires at Jauergui Ranch. A local bicycle store has agreed to refurbish cycles at no cost, The need is for toys, activities, and games for children age 6 months to 19 years. For more information, call (760) 745-9370, ext. 224 or send an e-mail to 

Compiled from press releases and the Emergency Response and Recovery Network who can be reached at