Donations Pour in and Student Volunteers Pitch in to Help at an Oroville Evacuation Center

Volunteers, many of them Chico State students, help move donated supplies for the evacuees into a building at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds in Chico. [All photos by Mark McKenna]

Chico State student Hannah Ocampo was one of relatively steady stream of people bringing donations to evacuees from below the Oroville Dam at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds in Chico.

The Red Cross was running the temporary shelter for evacuees with the Salvation Army assisting with meals and a large number of volunteers from the area helping with any a variety of capacities.

Hannah Ocampo brought six cases of water to an evacuation center in Chico. Will Martin, a volunteer  at the center and former student who now works for Capay Farms, carried her donations to the storage area.

“What’s six cases of water?” asked Ocampo who said she was bringing the water because she couldn’t imagine what the evacuees were going through and hoped that if she was in a similar situation people would help her.

Former Chico State student Will Martin helped carry Ocampo’s water. He and other volunteers helped load and move the stream of donations flowing into the fairgrounds. Originally from Stockton, the upbeat and charismatic Martin said he attended Chico State as an agriculture student and was on the soccer team while attending school. Many of the volunteers at the center were from the soccer and football teams.

The 100 sleeping bags donated by Joe Harris were loaded onto a cart by volunteers.

One of the larger donations, 100 sleeping bags, came from Lake Tahoe resident Joe Harris, who said he hit four Walmarts to get to them on his way from Tahoe via Reno.

A pedicab operator was giving rides to evacuees around the fairgrounds.

North Valley Animal Disaster Group is housing animals at the fairgrounds. Kim Groom, a dog shelter supervisor with the group, said that this was one of the biggest events she has seen in her six years with the group. She estimated they were currently caring for around 300 animals.

Another volunteer with the group said they had a wide range of animals including your standard cats and dog, but also a rainbow of hens and roosters, pigs of all varieties, sheep, goats, and even hissing geese.

A news crew interviews a man in his car.

According to numerous reports, there is not a timeline for lifting the evacuation orders. The evacuees wait…hopefully to return home soon. Meanwhile, the volunteers are there to help and the donations pour in.

The parking lot was full of cars with people making trips from their vehicle back to the temporary dorms at the fairgrounds.



  • Remember to thank the employees of Oroville Hospital for trooping on in the face of disaster. These folks are going to work and keeping the hospital running so that you can come back and receive care! Please acknowledge the contributions of the few that are made for the many, and please help, if only with positive thoughts!

  • Praying for everyone!! Sorry you have to go thru this. Keeping good thoughts

  • Upbeat story! Nothing new about the heart of mankind, helping others during times of needs.
    Hopefully they will also unite against the powers who allowed this to happen and make sure it doesn’t happen again. 11 years of skirting the potential disaster looming is inexcusable for us all. It’s our fault for getting distracted by political propaganda.
    Go citizens!

  • Thank you for the positive story in the midst of an unprecedented unnatural disaster.

    It also gives all of us pause as to how our families can respond to a disaster.

    Some key preparedness actions that cost little include having a paper address book to make contact with loved ones and financial institutions and insurance companies.

    Scanning vital docs to a thumb drive that you keep on your person.

    Keeping your gas tank above half full.

    Driving and knowing alternative routes to work, school and out of your immediate area if there are fires or floods or other types of disasters.

    Having a communication plan with your loved ones in case you are not with each other when disaster strikes.

    Have spare eye glasses or contact lens. Have extra RX medications.

    Have a get out of Dodge bag prepacked with the essentials in case you need to leave home or work at a moments notice.

    Read the book “The Gift of Fear” to hone personal situational awareness.

    In light of this incredible astounding unnatural disaster having your vital documents is so very important.

    Having spent time in a Red Cross Shelter due to a wild land fire our family learned that comfort is essential when in a refugee status.

    Here is a list of things that make a shelter stay a wee bit easier.

    Have your own bedding (blow up pad for the cot, blankets and pillows, ear plugs, an extension cord for medical equipment, plastic flip flops for the shower, towels, personal care kit.

    Different shelters have different rules. Beaware of them. Remember that Red Cross Shelters are considered your domicile you have legal rights as such. They also have strict rules of no alcohol or illegal drugs, no weapons, no pets. Let the intake person know of your medical and dietary needs.

    And while there volunteer to assist it in the cleaning of the shelter and if allowed cooking or other jobs.

    Remain civil and understand you will be coexisting among folks you may not normally due so.

    Be very discreet with any valuables and it is best to keep them locked in you vehicle or on your person.

    Don’t let your children or teens run rampant.

    It is very stressful to be displaced. But a little bit of forethought and preparation can make the time away from your home much better.

    And thank you to all the folks that volunteer! You are heroes to leave your home and jobs to assist others!

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