Numerous services offered to those affected by Rancho Tehama rampage
RANCHO TEHAMA, Calif. - It's been almost one week since a Rancho Tehama man opened fire though several streets in Rancho Tehama. On that morning and in these several days after, the town has joined together to be there for one another.
"You're looking at love," said Richard Gutierrez, balancing the gratitude he feels, with the emotion that comes after looking in the face of tragedy.
Gutierrez has been in the center of it all. He's a community and board member for the Rancho Tehama Homeowners Association.
"There's donors throughout the county that have been overwhelmingly heart full and it's touching really," Gutierrez explained.
Monday there were bags and boxes full of food that local organizations, businesses and individual people have been bringing in to the Homeowner's Office help those affected by last Tuesday's rampage.
"Since last Wednesday, the donations, food wise, have been overwhelming," Gutierrez explained. "This room was hard to maneuver in, probably this high in cases and it's great."
The Rancho Tehama Homeowners Association has an office that's located right next to the Recreation Center, where counseling has been offered nearly every day since the shooting.
Monday, Marriage and Family Therapist Patrick Curran with River Cities Counseling was at the Recreation Center to help locals affected.
He said he was already seeing a handful of students every Wednesday at Rancho Tehama Elementary School. Now, he has 20-30 applications sitting on his desk. Monday, his schedule fit eight appointments, all parents and their kids needing to talk about the man who shot a rifle into the school.
After Thanksgiving, Curran and other counselors will be at the school and in the classrooms Monday-Wednesday to help with healing.
Curran said this is so important because the kids need to know that what they're feeling is normal after experiencing that level of trauma.
"I'm helping the kids cope with their fears and with the trauma," Curran explained. "I'm seeing a lot more now than before. I saw several students based on the traumas that they've experienced in the past, but now it's a whole new ballgame."
Curran said he's also helping parents get over their fears of letting their children return to the school. He talked with them about the grief cycle, saying it's normal to feel the denial, shock, sadness, depression and/or anger.
At the Recreation Center Tuesday, the Tehama County Community Action Agency will be handing out meal boxes to any student enrolled at Rancho Tehama Elementary School.
Since the kids are out of session this week for Thanksgiving, the agency is providing enough for 3-4 meals, plus lunches, in each box.
Many in this area struggle to make ends meet, so these services have been appreciated.
"It's been a steady line of the victims, families, children, coming in," agreed Gutierrez. "We're trying to help everyone. The donors are fantastic."
Anyone who would like to donate food can bring goods to the Rancho Tehama Homeowners Association's office.
The board has also partnered with the North Valley Community Foundation to provide a safe and secure place for all monetary donations to go to the victim's families. Donations are tax deductible and can be made by clicking here, or by mail to 240 Main Street Suite 260, Chico 95928.
Those who can't give material items are asked to simply pray for the small towns healing.
"We're all trying to heal you know. It's, it's been very traumatizing," Gutierrez said. "Depending on how close they were to the situation and we're trying to just regroup and build that unity and confidence back up."