ERV at Our Lady of Perpetual Help

By Ellis Levinson

As the Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV) pulled up at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic church in Calistoga, California, a crowd of mostly women immediately gathered. They were in need of basic items for their families. The truck was their best hope for relief from the financial strains created when the wildfires swept through three counties north of San Francisco this month.

Elba Vargas, with her baby son in her arms, explained that her husband had been out of work as a server at Indian Springs Resort when it closed for two weeks in the aftermath of the fires. She, like many of the mothers standing in line, needed diapers, baby wipes, and cases of bottled water.

“Getting it here makes it a little easier for us,” she said. Her husband’s temporary layoff had stretched their finances. She explained that their current living quarters had water but that it’s not fit for drinking. This isn’t the first time she depended on an ERV for water. “We got water from the Red Cross in Napa too.”

Seemingly speaking for everyone in line, Elba expressed her gratitude. “We’re very thankful you’re here, because it’s such a great help.”


Beth Eurotas and Jim Burns provided editorial support for this story.