Amid the charred landscape surrounding North Davis Avenue in Weed, a foundation has been laid for the new Holy Family Catholic Church. A border of rebar stakes and retaining wall marks the footprint of a new church that will replace the one lost in the Boles Fire of 2014.
Until the new structure is ready, mass continues to be held at College of the Siskiyous. Dr. Sternberg’s office serves as the church’s administrative headquarters.
With a hopeful eye on the future, Pastoral Council Chairperson Mel Borcalli remembers the events surrounding the fire that destroyed more than 160 buildings in Weed. She emphasizes the role the Catholic chuch played in assisting not only Holy Family, but all survivors in their path toward recovery.
“Northern Valley Catholic Social Services did so much to help,” Borcalli said.
The agency, which covers churches north of Sacramento, worked with Holy Family Catholic Church to develop a plan on how they could work together moving forward.
In addition to gathering and delivering donations such as food, clothing, furniture and household items, Northern Valley Catholic Social Services coordinated with other local organizations and became a hub of information and referrals.
“After the fire, I worked in a center that was set up to help make sure people got back all their important paperwork, like their licenses and birth certificates,” she said. “So many people came out to help.”
Borcalli said the church worked in coordination with other agencies such as the Red Cross, United Way, Salvation Army, Saint Vincent de Paul, the Family and Community Resource Center of Weed, local law enforcement and the City of Weed.
Of the total $181,133.86 received, donations from churches and catholic organizations equaled $97,759.91, according to a presentation by Northern Valley Catholic Social Services. From that fund, $28,081.15 was donated to Holy Family Catholic Church.
A total of 350 people received help from Northern Valley Catholic Social Services. This included distribution of gas cards, Walmart cards, appliances, furniture, and heating fuel. Other assistance included counseling services, help with utilities and repairs, and rental assistance.
“Northern Valley Catholic Social Services is grateful for the opportunity to serve our communities with the support from the Diocese of Sacramento, Catholic Charities USA, the assistance from the Annual Catholic Appeal, and the generous donations from individuals, businesses and churches,” states the concluding slide in a presentation from Northern Valley Catholic Social Services.