Global Empowerment Mission back in Butte County to help Bear Fire victims

One humanitarian group is looking to help Bear Fire survivors, two years after they helped Camp Fire survivors.

Posted: Sep 22, 2020 9:47 PM
Updated: Sep 23, 2020 8:06 AM

Berry Creek, Calif. - One humanitarian group is looking to help Bear Fire victims, two years after they helped Camp Fire survivors.

Michael Capponi is the President of Global Empowerment Mission. His non-profit is partnered with Bethenny Frankel’s BStrong organization, the company goes all over the world to help with disaster relief.

Capponi returned to Butte County this week to assess how he can help victims of the Bear Fire.

"We have a partnership with Bethenny Frankel's BStrong for gift cards. So usually the first thing we do is find families that have been affected by the fire and give them a little jump start cash through that,” said Capponi.

One of the days Capponi was here he spent time at a Distribution Center handing out gift cards.

The next day he went to Lakeside Market in Oroville where he handed out more gift cards to victims of the fire.

One victim, Rhonda Johnson lost her home in the Camp Fire, then lost her new home in the Bear Fire.

"It means a lot to get help, especially because our insurance isn't what we thought it would be," said Johnson.

John Butler is another Bear Fire victim who lost everything including his parents.

"It's greatly appreciated, I am actually surprised there are people like this. It really helps, especially these times and especially when you don't have anything, so you know I greatly appreciate it,” said Butler.

Capponi also met up with a Fire Captain who lost everything, including the volunteer station he worked at, all while evacuating people from their homes.

"We are trying to help the public when they get ready to move back in here. Every little bit helps, we are so thankful people are being so nice and so helpful, I don't even know how to say thank you, but thank you," said Captain Reed Rankin.

Capponi handed out ten thousand dollars in gift cards, but he’s not done helping.

"Here our next step is going to be to compile a lot of data, and then you know narrow in on what programs we can create to try and help people on a long term basis," said Capponi.

Capponi added they will be working with a community leader to help figure out how to distribute those funds.

They also have trucks heading out to help Bear Fire victims. They are sending out food aid kits for victims and they are also sending PPE.

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