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Tree service, Wells Fargo come to aid of Foresthill food bank, church

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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A week after a giant oak crushed Foresthill’s Elijah’s Jar food bank and damaged the Foresthill Foursquare Church, recovery is happening. On Friday, Auburn tree service owner Scott Simpson and a volunteer crew were continuing to cut up the giant tree that fell on the Main Street buildings Jan. 22. The tree had been weighed down by heavy snow and Simpson said its toppling was a lesson to property owners to keep oaks trimmed to keep limbs balanced. Simpson charged Dan and Sande Woodson, owners of the property and pastors of the church, about a third of his normal costs when he heard about the plight of the church. Insurance didn’t cover most of the tree-removal costs and in the end more than 12 tons of oak were being chopped up. “It’s time to give back,” Simpson said. “I’ve done a lot of work up here, it’s nice to help.” The Woodsons have found a new home for the church – rented space at an office building in the old mill site nearby. Members of the Auburn Foursquare Church were planning to help them with the move this weekend. “What Scott and his volunteers are doing is a huge blessing,” Sande Woodson said. “He’s not making any money off this. We’re so grateful.” Elijah’s Jar was also setting up a location nearby in the mountain community 17 miles east of Auburn. On Friday, needy residents were able to pick up canned and packaged food at a nearby building on the community’s historic boardwalk that had previously housed a gun store. Linda Parshall, director of Elijah’s Jar, said that with the crushed building sealed off by authorities because of structural safety concerns, the only food that could be salvaged came from what they could reach through a small hole. From what they could see, two of the three refrigerators had been crushed, as well as a chest freezer. Elijah’s Jar has already lined up a used freezer and possibly some used refrigerators, Parshall said. The food bank is thankful for $3,000 donation from Wells Fargo Bank, Parshall said. Julie Campbell, Wells Fargo spokewoman, said Foresthill Wells Fargo manager Kristen Nelson helped secure the donation. “Many of our team members live and work in the area and wanted to make sure we came through for the community,” Campbell said. “We hope that other companies and individuals are able to help as well.” Tom Norris, a lifelong Foresthill resident who’s permanently disabled, said he’s hoping that the food bank will be back to where it was before the accident soon. “It makes the difference between getting enough nourishment for my family toward the end of the month or not,” Norris said. “My family’s relying on it. There’s a depression on and a lot of people are hurting.”