Reaching and Lifting. Together.

Tonight is the first moment I don’t feel panic since the fires.

I’m not sure what it is. Time passing, exhaustion, hitting a wall.

Or maybe it’s the relief I feel that my cousins are finally safe and resting.

I toured resource centers today, and at one center, all the official tables were set up: FEMA, Red Cross, Insurance, Legal, Tax Assessor, Shelters, Mexican Consulate.

I asked a friendly gentleman how long it took for someone to access all the services. “Three days?” I suggested. “You know, to go through one paper per visit?” He said, “Oh, it probably takes about two hours, but the wait for FEMA is 45–60 minutes.”

From my discussions with many fire survivors, about one sentence or one decision is all that’s possible. But maybe in a few weeks, two hours will be enough.

Things are shifting. I feel it today. Resource centers are consolidating, volunteers are re-distributing, supply needs are changing, and the community is getting back to work while also waiting for instructions on how to next help.

Some of my panic has been in how to leverage the goodwill, generosity and outpouring of love so that we all don’t leave the long-standing non-profits hanging with 2,000+ more families to serve.

But for this weekend, I’ll rest. And leaders are emerging from everywhere. Somehow the community will continue to show up and maybe grow stronger and gain long-term wisdom in how to care for those most vulnerable.

And we’ll keep reaching and lifting. Together.

♡ Annie

Originally published at on September 26, 2020.



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