Magalia Pines Baptist Church still serving free meals, three months after Camp Fire

Magalia Pines Baptist Church in Magalia, California.

It has officially been three months since the Camp Fire ignited in Butte County.

Residents living in Paradise, Magalia and Concow have been affected by the devastating blaze that destroyed more than 14,000 structures and took the lives of 85 people. Many of them are still trying to put their lives back together since losing everything.

On Friday, the Oroville Disaster Recovery Center for Camp Fire victims officially closed, but other places said they will be staying open even though its been three months.

One of those included, the Magalia Pines Baptist Church has been open and helping survivors of the Camp Fire since this disaster started.

The church has been serving two free hot meals a day including breakfast and lunch.

They are open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and welcome anyone who would like to attend their church service on Sunday mornings at 10 a.m.

"Magalia is a hopeful place. Magalia is a place where people are looking to the future. It's different than Paradise, we're in a different world up here," said Doug Crowder, the Senior Pastor at Magalia Pines Baptist Church. "It's just people coming together and finding a way and a place to connect because that's really the important thing in all of this."

Crowder added the church serves close to 100 people a day and that everything is volunteer based. In addition, all of the food has been donated by various individuals and groups. They change the menu daily.

The church also offers free hot showers and donates new or gently used items to people who need it.

They say hundreds of people lost their home in Magalia and it is important that those people aren't forgotten about. Crowder, the Senior Pastor of the church, also lost his home in the Camp Fire.

"I don't see this ending this month. My concern is the resolution about where people are going to be and whats going to happen to them. Its nothing to do with the crisis, nothing to do with the fire, now it has to do with life," Crowder said.

Crowder added that the purpose of the meals stretches far beyond the dinner table, "It's just people coming together and finding a way and a place to connect because that's really the important thing in all of this."

Dozens of Magalia residents stopped by the church on Friday to get free cases of water or enjoy a hot meal courtesy of the church.

"Yeah its helped me out a lot, you know, helped give me some time to go put my house back together," said James Jacobson, a Magalia resident. "This is a small town. You get to see a lot of people in this town and you don't know them but you know them."

The church plans on staying open throughout the rest of this month until the need is no longer there, according to Crowder.

Meals are served in the early morning and mid-afternoon hour.

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