Late Saturday night, a Deacon at Saint Frances X Cabrini Church in Yucaipa got the call. Trinity Youth Services (TYS) on Fremont Street was in the evacuation warning zone. The El Dorado fire was approaching and mandatory evacuation was a real possibility. If it became a reality, could the church provide shelter for the young residents and staff? After making phone calls to the Yucaipa Sheriff Department, the fire department, and the Red Cross, things slowly began to fall into place. Fortunately that night, shelter was not required.
By Sunday evening the picture had changed as both the situation and the sky darkened. The kids would need to have safe shelter ASAP. The evacuation center at the community park would not be able to help overnight, due to COVID-19 restrictions. Their only other alternative was to drive everyone to their sister facility in Apple Valley.
The two Deacons rushed down to make sure that the St. Frances X. Cabrini Parish Center was ready to accept them. Tables and chairs were set up, the air conditioning was boosted, and the doors were opened.
Not long after, a caravan of cars and vans brought the young charges into the building. The youth were welcomed, and were very gracious and happy to be there.
As manna from heaven, a bounty of pizza appeared, arranged by TYS staff, and the young people settled in. Generous SFXC parishioners brought in bottled water and snacks. TV was on, phones were in hand. All was well.
Later in the evening, the City of Yucaipa brought in enough sleeping cots to accommodate the kids in their sleeping bags and pillows. Safe for the night.
The next morning, the cooking staff from TYS commandeered the SFXC kitchen, and breakfast was rolled out.
At this writing, the staff and residents were still there because their home facility was still in the evacuation zone. As young people typically do, they began to get a little stir crazy, so other SFXC parishioners were asked to bring in activities and games. Amazingly, other members of the greater Yucaipa community joined in the effort to make sure that the youth were busy and happy. A Yucaipa teacher, who brought in some games stated, “I’m just happy to help out. So many people help out our schools when asked…it’s nice to be able to return the favor!”
With the able and dedicated emergency ministry group at SFXC, under the direction of Joe Scarite, all things went better than could have been expected.
Since 1966, Trinity Youth Services has answered the call to this societal challenge by providing the safety and care children need, in foster homes and residential treatment settings, where they learn to cope with and heal from the trauma in their lives. Trinity strives to be the #1 choice in providing quality care for children and their families, with one goal in mind – permanency for children and families so they can create a better future.
TYS Residential Director for the Yucaipa facility, Teresa Valles wished to thank Yucaipa stating, “A huge thank you to Saint Frances Cabrini Church who graciously opened their doors to provide shelter to our kids. The outpouring of love and support from the community such as the Red Cross, churches, local businesses, Starbucks, Tam’s Burgers, American Road Trip Bar and Grill, and all the community members who brought snacks and games for the kids to enjoy. We are overwhelmed with the generosity of our community and could not be more thankful for being part of this wonderful town!”