Woody Faircloth is like many Americans. He works in the telecom industry, is a father of four and lives in Denver, Colorado.
But in late 2018, he saw something that has stuck with him and propelled him to create a life-changing nonprofit. He was watching the news and saw a story about a man fleeing from the Camp Fire, the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California’s history.
That man had lost everything — except his RV, which he traveled in to get away from the fire. The man also expressed his gratitude over having the RV, so he’d have a “home” for Thanksgiving.
An idea struck Faircloth, who was home with his daughter, Luna, for Thanksgiving.
“Why don’t we get an RV and drive it out there and give it to a family that lost their home?” he asked her, according to the Associated Press. “What do you think about that?”
“Aw, Dad, God and Santa Claus are gonna be proud of us,” she said.
My 6 y/o daughter and I raised funds for and purchased an RV and are driving from CO to Chico. We would love to donate to first responder family who lost home in fire. Help us identify family? @JerryBrownGov @GavinNewsom #campfire #doingsomething pic.twitter.com/x87zmeseDe
— Woody Faircloth (@jamesfaircloth3) November 22, 2018
That did it. They found a motor home on Craigslist (the seller gave them a deep discount when he found out their intentions), bought it and spent their holiday driving to someone in need, according to KMGH-TV.
And they were hooked. “EmergencyRV” was born, and as Faircloth’s story circulated, more and more people began reaching out to donate their RVs.
“If you lost your home due to a recent wildfire/natural disaster and are in need of emergency/transitional housing please complete the ‘Survivor intake’ form by clicking the link below,” the EmergencyRV website reads. “One of our volunteers will contact you if an RV is available in your area.”
The group recently celebrated their 95th RV giveaway and has a waitlist of over 100 families hoping for the security of an RV. A good number of the recipients have been firefighters who have lost their own homes even while they battled the blazes threatening other people’s properties.
Faircloth has even bigger dreams for the outreach, and would love to expand to be able to stage available RVs near areas being hit by natural disasters. But he’ll need more volunteers and more donated RVs for that, as he’s been stretched to the max already.
The recipients of the generous donations have made sure to express their gratitude — and Faircloth estimates that up to 10 percent of their recipients donate their RVs back to the cause once they’re back on their feet.
“We fought the fire until we couldn’t fight it no more,” said firefighter George Wolley, who lost his home in California’s Dixie Fire in the summer of 2021. “We couldn’t stop it. We did our best. Before I got that RV, I felt like I was a burden on everybody that helped me … I slept a lot in tents and in my car. It gave me a place to go.”
People who want to help but don’t have the time to volunteer or a spare RV to give can help pay for gas money and other costs associated with the group’s mission through Faircloth’s GoFundMe.
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