Local Knights of Columbus teamed up with staff from the Diocesan Pastoral Center to collect and donate food and supplies to residents of San Bernardino mountain communities facing difficulty getting food and essential items due to the heavy winter storms that impacted Southern California in March. Food donations from diocesan staff and the Knights of Columbus were collected and sorted and then transported to the communities of Crestline and Lake Arrowhead.

“Since we heard [mountain residents] were getting that much snow, one thing for sure is that we have been keeping them in our prayers … we have been thinking of them, and now we are collecting food and other things to send up to the parishes,” Bishop Alberto Rojas said March 9 as supplies were gathered for delivery at the pastoral center.

Heavy storms in late February and early March dumped vast amounts of snow into the mountain communities, with Lake Arrowhead, Crestline, Running Springs, and Wrightwood getting the worst of the snowfall. The huge snowfall caused road closures for days and even weeks for some roads, frustrating many residents who had to spend several hours per day to even dig themselves out of their houses.

“We’ve had large storms before, but the way this one came so fast and unrelenting, we just couldn’t get a handle on it,” said Genese “Gigi” Horan, Youth Minister at Our Lady of the Lake, Lake Arrowhead.

Some residents faced shortages of food and medical supplies, and emergency responses were hampered by the roads not being cleared. Those in the Crestline/Lake Arrowhead area had a particularly difficult time of it when the roof of Goodwin & Sons Market, the only grocery store in Crestline, collapsed from the weight of the snow….

One parishioner from St. Frances Xavier Cabrini in Crestline, Anna Maria Abrams: “When we first moved up there, we used to have 3-4 feet of snow with each storm. But this we’ve never experienced.”

The residents of Crestline, and in particular the approximately 150 parishioners of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, are a tight-knit community, explained Abrams, which made not being able to come together for Mass for several weekends difficult.

Storm-related property damage up in the mountains was common, with many roofs caving in from the weight of the snow or fallen trees crushing roofs or cars. Thankfully, mountain parishes seem to have escaped much of the damage. There were multiple downed trees at St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, one of which fell on a parish building, although it appears to not have caused any substantial damage due to the snow which cushioned the fall. Our Lady of the Lake reported broken windows from so many feet of snow pressing against the buildings and some flooding later in March, once a warmer storm brought rain that melted the snow….

Original story from Inland Catholic Byte