Bridging the Gap Between Hope and Despair

The Bridge, a new Alliance church plant in Santa Rosa, California, exists “to connect people to God, to each other, and to the community,” and that’s exactly what they’re doing in the wake of the third-worst wildfire in their state’s history.[1]

volunteers load a van of supplies
Volunteers load a van of supplies for people displaced by the fire.

Less than 24 hours after the nearby Valley Fire started September 12, church member Jason Gaddis told Jim McKee, outreach pastor of The Bridge, that he would bring his trailer to load donations for evacuees. Soon gift cards, tents, camping chairs, air mattresses, pumps, and bedding came pouring in for those staying at Napa County Fairgrounds.

“We were both encouraged and surprised by how fast the people in the church responded,” Jim said. “Literally within one and a half hours [after the Sunday service ended] we had a load on its way to the shelter.”

Meanwhile, people from The Bridge and the greater community kept bringing items—sleeping bags, clothes, pet food, pet kennels, and more. A three-year-old girl donated a stuffed Nemo, a character from the Disney film Finding Nemo, to give to a child at the shelter.

A local Web site listed The Bridge as a collection point, and the church continued to take trips to the shelters throughout that first week of the fire. Jim estimates The Bridge collected $5,000–$10,000 worth of items and nearly $15,000 in cash donations.

The Bridge loaded a trailer with donations
Shortly after the fire started, The Bridge loaded a trailer with donations.

“We hope and pray that by meeting some of the practical needs, we will get a chance to share the ultimate hope in Jesus,” he said.

As of September 29, the 76,067-acre Valley Fire has destroyed 1,958 structures and damaged 93 in Lake, Sonoma, and Napa counties. It is estimated that as much as 45–50 percent of the destroyed homes were either uninsured or underinsured.

To help those who lost their homes and are unable to rebuild on their own, The Bridge is partnering with Hope Crisis Response Network to help raise funds, supplies, and volunteers to build new homes for those most desperate.


  • Pray for those who are displaced, as there are few temporary housing options in Lake County.
  • Pray that people’s hearts will be open to Jesus as they receive help from churches and faith-based organizations.
  • Pray for the large number of volunteers needed to assist in the clean-up process for the next six to eight weeks.
  • Pray that the faith-based community will come together in Lake, Sonoma, and Napa counties and that their commitment to the survivors will be long term.
  • Pray for the millions of dollars it will take to help rebuild homes for those who have the greatest need.

[1] The Valley Fire is the third-worst in California history in terms of the number of damaged structures.

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