At 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug 24, the EarthWitness Foundation will host a fundraiser at the Rainbow Inn, 54420 S. Circle Dr., to benefit victims of the Mountain Center Fire. Tickets are $15 at the door.
Comedian Cary Odes will perform. Musical guests include the Greg Jones Band, Carlos Reynosa and Friends, Pentagrams and Daisies, and the Pete and Sue Band. It includes a silent auction and hors d‘oeuvres.
Most of the proceeds from the fundraiser will go directly to the fire victims who lost seven homes in the Mountain Center fire. Sponsors for the event are Café Aroma, Idyllwild Pizza Company, Internal Balance Body Care and Sky Island Organics.
Christina Nordella of the foundation said, “My friend, Ginger Dagnall, was trying to raise some money for her friend and I said ‘let’s go bigger than that. We can probably do it through my foundation.’” Nordella went back to her board for approval and secured a unanimous vote.
Silver Fire victims who lost homes will receive 20 percent of the proceeds. Nordella explained, “It was originally for the Mountain Fire victims. While we were in the process of planning the fundraiser, the Silver Fire happened so we decided, ‘Let’s just do this for everybody and we’ll give a percentage directly to the HELP Center for the Silver Fire victims’. They all get a gift of money, which they need.”
Nordella has been able to make contact with three of the seven families who lost their homes in the Mountain Fire. “I am personally going to track them [the remaining families] down. Because I know; I can relate. I’ll track them down as best I can from a place of understanding. If not, we’ll hold the funds for a certain period of time.
“I’m hoping the families from both fires might come together and be a support group for each other. It would be really healing. I would hope that they get counseling, which is a part of the services offered through the HELP Center. I cannot say enough good things about the HELP Center.”
Nordella has a very personal understanding of what these families are going through having lost her Idyllwild home to a fire in October of 2011. “A lot of people don’t realize that you have this experience and they think it’s over in 30 days. ‘OK, it’s done, we’ve gotten you some immediate help.’ The truth of the matter is it takes about a year-and-a-half to come out of something as devastating as losing everything you own.
“It’s not only the very deep uprooting of your physical environment but mentally you’re uprooted because you start every day in your home; it is your point of reference, so your mind is really uprooted as well. People don’t really get that. The victims just don’t even know how to come forward; it’s really hard to receive. It’s really hard to say I’m going to need some help.”
Nordella credits her recovery to the Idyllwild community. “I was holding it together; my kids were watching me. In all honesty I could not have rebuilt or been as emotionally stable as I was had I not had the Idyllwild community. My friends, this community, they supported me and more importantly, they supported my children and this type of stuff doesn’t happen in larger cities. It just doesn’t happen. You’d be forgotten about. I can’t express enough my gratitude to how the community helped me and now it’s my turn to help other people. It’s what life is all about, really. ”
The EarthWitness Foundation (earthwitnessfoundation.com) is a registered 501(c)3. The foundation serves to provide both onsite and outreach education programs in sustainable ecology and Native American culture for grades kindergarten through 12th in Riverside County schools. The programs teach students about alternative resourcing for the future, and about the rich culture and heritage of the indigenous peoples of the region.
“We generally do three events a year that support our programs. This summer we had a six-week course at the Nature Center for kids. It was free for them to come and learn. To date we have taught over 650 kids,” beams Nordella. “It’s nice to get the kids outside into rocks and crystals and away from video games. This is how I give back to my community.”
For questions, to donate or for more information, Nordella can be reached at email@example.com.
Category: Idyllwild News