Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:

Elgin chef Ryan Waesche was recently in Northern California where he helped feed victims and crews battling the largest wildfires in that state’s history. He volunteers with Mercy Chefs, a nonprofit from Virginia that serves quality meals to those dealing with natural disasters. Last year, he was part of the group’s efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Texas, Hurricane Irma in Florida, and the wildfire around Santa Rosa, Calif. The Mendocino Complex Fire that began in late July has burned more than 366,000 acres and been only partially contained. Waesche returned Tuesday from a 13-day stint there, where Mercy Chefs set up in Redding, Calif., near the Carr Fire.

The group gave out an average of 1,800–2,000 meals a day working with the Salvation Army for eight days. They brought 800 of the meals to three distribution sites in the impacted area.

Waesche said he was touched by meeting a family of nine who did not lose their home but who were displaced by the blazes. The father was a handyman looking for work and he volunteered to help make repairs, assisting a man who owned several local radio stations. The station owner then hired the man to help repair antennae for his stations.