Nurseries offer fruit trees to get Paradise growing again

High Hand Nursery of Loomis and Burchell Nursery of Oakdale and Fresno are giving away trees ton Saturday -- just part of what these out of town nursery owners have been doing to support Camp Fire victims.

Posted: May 31, 2019 9:18 PM

MAGALIA, Calif. - High Hand Nursery of Loomis and Burchell Nursery of Oakdale and Fresno are giving away trees to people who lost so many of them during the Camp Fire. This is just part of what these out of town nursery owners have been doing to support Camp Fire victims.

Tom Burchell's family nursery has been growing quality fruit, citrus and nut trees for over 70 years and they sell more than two million trees a year. They have locations in Oakdale and Fresno where they offer nursery-raised almond, apricot apple, cherry, citrus, nectarine, olive, peach, plum, and walnut trees.

Update: How come this is happening?”
High Hand Facebook post from Scott Paris on De. 4, 2018

I have traveled from shelter to shelter to shelter. As shelters have been consolidated, people are being moved three and four times. I'm confused. How is this happening?

A shelter was set up this weekend. It consists of a dorm for males, females and families, all housed separately. And there's the tent area. The outside area. How come this is happening? Is this the best we can do? An office chair and a towel?

On the first night of the shelter opening a man was evacuated to the hospital with severe hypothermia. He was in the black tent in the distance. He was found by a security guard. How is this happening at this point?

The same security guard told me to not give gift cards or cash to the organization. They will either send them to headquarters or use them to pay volunteers. This is the third time I've heard this - I hope this isn't true. How is this happening?

I was at a meeting where folks were introducing themselves to the evacuees. Understand that I'm not trying to pick a fight or imply anything, but I am wondering how this could be happening?

A gentleman was explaining that if anybody had needs to simply come to one of them and they would take care of it. He was explaining that they were here to help them. In the same sentence he went on to explain that they were severely understaffed and that they could not keep the services of the shelter open past 10:00 p.m.. I thought, "How could this be happening?"

I have traveled from shelter to shelter to shelter. I have seen them open and close them. I have seen staff come and do wonderful things as volunteers. I've seen them leave and go back home to be replaced by others. So, it confuses me as to why, when they are consolidating shelters down to one center, how they can be short staffed.

I spoke with a young lady at this meeting. With five kids at the shelter and nowhere to go and a car broken down, she explained to me some of the frustrations with the system. This was her third shelter.

She needed to get her kids to school, but her car was broken. She also was trying to get through "the process" with the various organizations. I asked what she thought of what was being said tonight. She said it's the same thing over and over, just like a recording.

"We are here to help you, but we don't have the resources to help you." I received a text from her on my drive home last night...

I don't know why she felt she had to apologize to me. I felt I had to apologize to her. Your gift of kindness helped solve her immediate problem. We hugged. I exchanged phone numbers with her and told her that I would keep an eye on her.

There are very caring, wonderful, compassionate volunteers working to serve people. A family of seven lives here. They are waiting for "the process" to work out. Your donations went to work last night and this family can't thank you enough. They had no cash whatsoever.

In the family area there are so many people in need. Your donations were put to work once again. This is a young family that I have been working with since the Walmart shopping center. I can't tell you how many layers of onion I had to peel to get them to a warm, safe place. I can now work on the next layers of the onion with them.

There is a wonderful couple in Durham who have opened up their lives to people in need. What was once a field around their house is turning into a place of safety and compassion. I'm amazed and inspired by them. It reminds me of the movie Field of Dreams. A road has been built, so trailers can move in and out without being hindered by mud.

Numerous trailers are arriving. None of this happens without effort and hard work. Your donations have gone to work here. They're being used to purchase electrical cords and anything needed to set up spaces for families to move into.

Your donations, along with others, have helped a young man named Brandon, a fire evacuee, reclaim his self-esteem. His truck is now on the road, helping bring trailers to their new destinations and new families.

I have told you that I promised your donations would go into the hands of those in need and I will continue with that commitment to you.

There are so many people out there doing great things. My day yesterday was filled with sadness, adrenaline, anger, bewilderment, frustration and moments of quiet, loving silence.
Your donations are making a difference and I can't thank you enough.


Scott Paris, owner of High Hand Nursery in Loomis, is known by some as a Camp Fire Angel. He has helped survivors from the very beginning, when so many were in shelters and at the Walmart parking lot. His aid came in the form of gift cards, car repairs and cash for emergencies. (We have shared some of the writings of Scott Paris about the disaster in the early weeks in a sidebar to this article)

His Loomis nursery has a historic fruit shed, a cafe/restaurant, garden center and an olive oil company. The funds High Hand's owner has been providing to Camp Fire survivors were contributed by his customers and suppliers to help the people who were uprooted from their homes and properties during and after the disaster.

The fruit tree giveaway takes place on Saturday, June 1, 2019 between 9:00 a.m. And 2:00 p.m. at the Magalia Pines Baptist Church. It is located at 14098 Skyway in Magalia.

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