The daughter and granddaughter respectively of lifelong activist Sarah B. Durkee, Becca Durkee and Ruby Capurro-Durkee have been speaking up and taking action to support both their local and worldwide communities their entire lives. Most recently, they took courageous, compassionate action during the recent devastating fires in Northern California, which devoured 153,336 acres of land; killed 88 people (with 203 people still missing and unaccounted for); destroyed 13,972 residences; obliterated the entire town of Paradise; and took the lives of countless wildlife and domesticated animals. Becca and Ruby found out what help was needed, circled the wagons among their family and friends, and turned their deep concern into direct action.
Photos care of Ray Chavez - Enterprise-Record, Bay Area News GroupWhile researching the most effective ways to help those caught in the crosshairs of the fires, Becca and Ruby learned about the North Valley Community Foundation (NVCF), a nonprofit community hub that identifies emerging challenges in the North Valley region of California and partners with diverse groups of problem solvers to address those challenges, mobilize resources, and equip community leaders. When the fires began to rage, the NVCF immediately established a space on their website where people who wanted to help or needed help could find the places and resources to give or get help. They also established a Camp Fire Evacuation Relief Fund to support the many community organizations serving evacuees and first responders. Since the fire has only recently been 100% contained, the fund’s immediate priority is to make sure that evacuation centers have everything they need to continue providing vital services to displaced people, including portable toilets, portable showers, blankets, electricity, clean water, and countless other essentials. As the crisis is abated, the fund will support victims of the Camp Fire with their long-term recovery needs.
Photos care of Noah Berger - AP Photo (left), and Karl Mondon - Bay Area News Group (right)
“Working for long-term systemic change is crucial,” Becca says. “At the same time, direct help to people in crisis is crucial. I’ve seen that this help is most effective when we band together, even with just a few friends. Our resources and energy multiply!” Becca and her family live these words, coordinating, organizing, and supporting efforts to make a difference both near and far. In the specific instance of the Camp Fire, they became ambassadors of PLAE-It-Forward on behalf of the NVCF and also gathered monetary donations from friends and family to purchase items The Hope Center in Oroville specifically requested so they could distribute these items to shelters in the area.
Ruby, a student at CSU Chico, adds, “With 1,147 students affected by the Camp Fire, it is clear that this disaster will have ongoing impacts on students and faculty. Professors have responded by modifying their class time, and another response of the university is Wildcats Rise, a source of resources for students, staff, and faculty who fell victim to the fire. Wildcats Rise provides a variety of connections to resources, from counseling, childcare, and temporary housing to donations of food and clothing.”
What a world we could enjoy and leave for future generations if we all thought and operated like Sarah, Becca, and Ruby, people who live their lives demonstrating that the actions of individuals truly do make a difference. They are walking, talking proof that cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead knew what she was talking about when she wrote, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Want to join Becca and Ruby in helping to change the world one courageous, compassionate action at a time? Want to start being a part of that change by supporting both the immediate and long-term recovery needs of the Camp Fire survivors? You can! Start by using checkout code GIVE606 whenever you purchase your PLAE shoes online and 10% of the purchase price will be donated to the North Valley Community Foundation. You can also find NVCF on Facebook and Instagram.