Back to School

Posted: December 5, 2018

Eight-year-old Bella Maloney wakes up next to her little brother in a queen-size hotel bed. Her mom brings a bagel and cream cheese from the lobby for breakfast. Bella, her brother Vance, and thousands of other kids in Northern California lost their homes or classrooms in wildfires last month. But now life is getting a little closer to normal. They climb into their car. They’re going back to school!

Schools in Bella’s county have been closed since November 8. That’s when the fire swept through the town of Paradise and surrounding areas. The blazes destroyed nearly 14,000 homes. It killed at least 85 people. It was the nation’s deadliest wildfire in a century.

About 31,000 students in all have been away from school since the disaster. Nearly all of them are going back. Some attend class in other buildings because their schools were damaged or destroyed. Some will start classes online.

Bella and her family of five have lived in the small, tidy hotel room for two weeks. They lost nearly everything they had to the fire. They may be living there until February!

People in California feel grateful they survived the fires. But recovering after fire is still hard. Imagine what it would feel like if your home, school, and church, and possessions were suddenly gone!

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. ― Psalm 46:1

Bella and her family get ready for school in the hotel. (AP Photo)