I-CARE campaign helps fire transplants in Medford

Yreka resident Ruth Simpson greets Medford Neighborhood Church Pastor Lee Gregory dropping off donations for the I-CARE campaign to help transplants from the California wildfires. (Photo by: Jonathan Brines)

A movement to help people displaced by the California wildfire is springing to life in Medford.

The I-Care campaign, which stands for compassion and respect for everyone, is put together by Medford Neighborhood Church since Monday.

"In just 24 hour the response from this community and this region has been phenomenal," Pastor Lee Gregory said. "We're now prepared to distribute the items."

Since announcing they're donation and distribution effort the church members have filled up a storage building on the church property located at 1819 W Stewart Ave.

Now volunteers are seeing a steady stream of concerned residents from as far away as Klamath Falls and Yreka, CA bringing donations to the west Medford church to drop of clothing, food and personal items as well as monetary donations.

Yreka resident Ruth Simpson dropped off shirts, socks, slippers and pants.

"It's about sharing," Simpson said. "If it happened to me I would want people to step up."

Church volunteer Michael Murphy said when Gregory suggested the campaign he was onboard to do whatever it takes.

"I have a big heart. We all do," Murphy said. "It is horrible that people lost everything. I can't even imagine being in that situation, so I told my wife, I have to be involved in getting this stuff out to people."

The interfaith effort has linked churches from around the area.

Gregory said a church from Eagle Point donated $1,400 dollars and a church from Wolf Creek is sending a truck load of blankets and food.

Organizers say 100% of the proceeds will go to those displaced by the California Wildfires although the idea was sparked from the Camp Fire that killed scores of residents and destroyed more than 15,000 structures.

"We have financial resources that can allow people to buy personal items," Gregory said.

The church is making buttons and stickers to hand out to donors on Friday that say "I CARE."

"We're turning these into stickers. They can be on car windows. They can be little stickers on the lapel. We're going to have pins," Gregory said. "It's time for the message in the valley to change. It's been rough for a while, many people believe, we're going to start a movement that shows we're a valley that cares."

Gregory said he spoke to the Jackson County Commission Wednesday morning and they were interested in hearing about the program.

"The whole county has said they care," Gregory said.

Evacuees are encouraged to come to the church to pick up items they need. They just ask to show ID.

"They have to show us some form of absolute verifiable form of identification that they have been displaced by California fires," Gregory said. "We have to do that for clear accountability."

Volunteers are ready for pick up or drop off from 10 A.M. to Noon and 5 P.M. to 7 P.M. daily.

You can also make an appointment to drop off on the weekends. Call the church office at (541) 773-7974.

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