"The Red Cross gave me a hot meal and a blanket, the acupuncturists gave me peace of mind."
- California resident
October 23rd AWB made a decision to coordinate teams to provide
acupuncture relief to the people of Southern California affected by the
wildfires. By Sunday, a team had been formed, locations were scouted,
the word was put out and a relief effort was underway. Over the next
few weeks, several hundred treatments were given to California
residents, firefighters and other public and emergency workers.
AWB set up initially at the Ramona Senior Center in
Ramona, California where residents were coming to receive meals,
clothing, water and hot showers. AWB was stationed in 12 hour shifts at
the Ramona Senior Center and later at Ramona Fire Station 95, where
they treated residents, firefighters and police officers. Ramona is
located directly on the fire line and many residents were dealing with
the impact of lost homes and displacement.
On November 3rd the effort in Ramona was handed over to
the local acupuncturist and the team moved south. During that week AWB
volunteers provided treatment at the Barrett Junction Cafe in Barrett
Junction and in Potrero. This region received very few services during
and after the fires and the community was very much in need of
treatment. Michelle Marcotte, an acupuncturist in El Cajon, was
involved in AWB's effort in California.
She said that the residents in this area are deeply
grateful for AWB's presence in their communities as so few services
have been made available to them.
The AWB team was headed by Barbara Seymour of Solana
Beach and John Convey of Los Angeles, who were both trained at AWB
seminars. Both local acupuncturists and individuals from as far away as
San Francisco and Denver arrived to assist with providing treatment.
Over 15 California acupuncturists provided assistance with AWB for this
Acupuncture was also provided at Qualcomm Stadium,
Gillespie Field and other locations by students and teachers from the
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine and by acupuncturists from the
Alternative Healing Network. AWB worked with these local groups to
network practitioners and provide support. AWB officially closed
operations in California on Wednesday, November 7th. A full report on
the California effort will be available in late January 2008.
AWB is still accepting donations to cover the costs
incurred for this effort. Given the need for an immediate response, AWB
chose to move forward though there was not time to secure funds in
advance. In the future, we hope to have some funds set aside so that we
can securely respond to disasters as needed. Please help us build this