How to Help Evacuees Who Have Come to Nevada County

By Hayley Yount Severe
(Reprinted from Facebook with permission of the author)

Volunteer_thumbWhen we first heard of the evacuation last week, we began to imagine what we would do in the same situation. Where would our dog go? How would we meet up with our children and grandchildren? What important items would we take with us, leave or simply forget amidst the chaos? Would we stay together; where would we go and who could we trust in a strange area we’re not familiar with? Would we have enough gas to get there? Will we have a home to return to? Imagine being given 30 minutes to leave your home, how would you respond?

I would like to share a story about Donna and Todd. We had many, many pets staying in cars last week, many suffering from extreme anxiety, diarrhea, vomiting. One of our volunteers helped an 88 yr old woman clean her car when both her cats, after day 2, became ill. She was trying to clean her cats with wet ones in the dark car, her clothes were covered in feces and urine. And no shower for 3 days. She had just had surgery a week before, she and her handicapped husband grabbed the cats, their canes and photos of the grandkids and eventually found their way to the Nevada County Fairgrounds.

The husband, age 89, had been sitting up in a chair for 2 days with no sleep, while his wife tended to the cats in their car. On top of that, in the haste to leave Marysville, they forgot their medicine. Our volunteer had to beg the husband not to leave to retrieve the medicines they so badly needed. We found them a lovely home to stay at ( #FriendlyHomesNC) with a wonderful couple who had been giving convalescent care to Mother in their home for 6 years.

The family drove to the Fairgrounds, picked up our elderly couple, took them to their home for hot showers, hot coffee, warm beds, fresh bandages for the wife’s surgical wound, and began the process of getting their meds filled here locally. Oh yes, lots and lots of hugs. Those kitties sure were happy to be out of that car and into a warm blanket that morning.

Stories like this compel us to be vigilant of the coming rains, and very prepared for the next possible evacuation. We have 32 screened homes that are ready to take in evacuees. We will match the evacuees to the appropriate home and assist them in the most urgent needs they may have. We’ve received calls from every corner of our beautiful county offering homes, ranches, Yurts, treehouses, Air B&B’s, condos, RV’s, and several kennels and farm properties suitable for pets. Dog food, toys, kennels and vet checkups too. So many families offered their children’s bedrooms, toys and videos to young families with small children. Toys, diapers, formula, all available for the asking from great service organizations in our county.

I could tell you all many stories such as this, so many people in our community simply could not do enough for these poor people. I heard time and again “There but for the Grace of God”. If you are interested in being added to our list of #FriendlyHomesNC please PM me. We are ready to go if this weekend’s rains exceed the forecast.

Be proud Nevada County, you shine brilliantly in a moment of crisis. Blessings to you all.


Hayley Yount Severe, Associate Publisher/Editor at 101 Things To Do in Wine Country, lives in Lake Wildwood. She says, “We are in the process of setting up a website for people to go where we can match evacuees to Friendly Home folks.” In the meantime, if you wish to volunteer, you may contact her on Facebook by Private Message. 

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