Beer and T-shirts

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. I was a bit conflicted—I had a plane ticket to visit my family in St. Louis, and the weekend also was planned as a birthday celebration for my mom. I couldn’t just cancel, but I very much wanted to be part of the community gatherings here in Chico.

Getting out of town for a few days did provide a dose of clarity, however. While my boyfriend, Chuck, and I were pretty much consumed with the Camp Fire and its numerous—and horrendous—effects, most of those around us were only mildly interested in hearing our stories. I get it; it’s unpleasant. And it’s also hard to fathom unless you’re here. People don’t know what to say, they don’t know how to react.

I urged them all to head to the store and buy a case of Resilience Butte County Proud IPA when it’s released in December. The brew was created by Chico’s Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., which has shared its recipe with more than 1,000 other breweries around the world that will be joining the hometown brewery in donating 100 percent of proceeds to support those impacted by the fires. Cheers to all who are participating.

Profiting off of pain I have never been quite so touched by my community, by the amount of love people are willing to give in a situation like this. However, I came across one “effort” that really boiled my blood. I was driving down Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway last week and spied a tent with a sign advertising “fire shirts.” Naturally curious, I stopped and took a gander.

The shirts, being sold by a young man calling himself “The T-shirt Guy,” were $20. They were commemorative of the Camp Fire. I asked him if he was donating proceeds to relief efforts. Sort of—20 percent would be donated. To that, I said pointedly, “I don’t think I want to remember this one,” put the shirt back down, and left.

Speaking of shirts Many local fundraising efforts are for genuine causes and not for personal gain, so do your homework. I did pony up $20 for a shirt memorializing the Honey Run Covered Bridge. The Printed Image, based here in Chico, created them—along with Paradise beanies and shirts featuring Paradise plants (preorder only right now)—and 100 percent of proceeds will go to the North Valley Community Foundation and North Valley Animal Disaster Group. Right on! Find ’em at

Support local businesses It’s difficult to think about life as usual right now, I know. But I’ve been hearing rumbles from the local retail community that sales are particularly slow. Who has the money or energy to spend on a coffee pot or new camera right now, eh? Well, we must try. With the holiday season upon us, remember that buying locally means more money is kept within our community. The Camp Fire’s effects will be wide and come in waves. Let’s help ensure there aren’t unintended casualties.