-Written by Erik Sargent
“Honestly, it looks like Armageddon,” Brian Rice, chairman of the California Fire Foundation said on Friday to NBC News in an interview. “There’s a part of me that wonders if this city will come back. It is that devastating.”
Those were the words to sum up what happened to the town of Paradise, Cali., after the well-documented wildfires of 2018 ravaged the state of California.
The damage was substantial to the town of 26,682 people. Completely wiped out by the damage to the fire, 31 lives were lost throughout and thousands and thousands of acres of land were lost in the blaze. It’s an incredibly unfortunate situation, and one that left a community reeling.
Pinpointing just one area that was affected is nearly impossible, as Paradise residents’ lives were altered dramatically as they recovered from this. Rebuilding starts one step at a time, and for one TWO MEN AND A TRUCK marketing intern, she felt it was time to make a difference.
Stepping up to make a difference
“Basically, we had the fires in Paradise. We’re in Chico, and a lot of the residents that lost their homes here kind of flooded to the city,” said Addison Bedford, marketing intern at the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK Redding and Chico, California. “Same with all of the high schoolers who were there. Everyone that was at Paradise High School is now at a location in Chico.”
Bedford – who is currently a student at Chico State University – had seen first-hand the wildfire damage in her own community, and also how affected the people from Paradise were. She felt to the need to help, and offered up one of her own skillsets to make life a little easier – particularly for the high school students.
“Personally, I offered to do photography, free senior portraits, for the students,” Bedford said. “A lady reached out to me and asked if I would help do photography for their prom, and I said I could do more. I told her I could help plan it because I’m an event management major at Chico State right now. I asked if TWO MEN AND A TRUCK could be involved as well, because we had just wrapped up our Movers for Military campaign.”
TWO MEN AND A TRUCK began collecting prom dresses for the Paradise High prom and storing them at their locations, while also offering to transport them to the girls on prom day. They will also reach out to local businesses like Men’s Warehouse to offer discounts on tux rentals.
Bedford contacted a local Keller Williams real estate agent – Ellen Fields – who was also looking for ways to get involved and use her company’s resources.
“Ellen, and Keller Williams are amazing,” Bedford said. “They’re setting up a collection drive and they’re in charge of all of the budgeting and fundraising for it. We just wanted to help them any way we could.”
Through the power of social media, Bedford has been able to spread the word of what she is doing for the Paradise High students and their prom, and the response has been overwhelming. On the first day she posted about it on a Facebook page through her college, she said 40 people reached out offering to donate.
It’s another way that TWO MEN AND A TRUCK is working to make a difference in the communities we serve, and Bedford is happy to get the company involved.
“It’s crazy because people coming into our office and we have a little setup spot for people to donate, and people will tell me they have a dress they want to bring in or say their daughter has something they can bring in,” Bedford said. “They ask if we’ll take jewelry or shoes, as well. People are so eager to donate.”
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