Additional Resource

Giving Thanks — The Power of One, the Miracle of Many

A conversation between friends at last year’s Thanksgiving dinner focused on the thousands of people in Northern California who lost everything in the 2018 fires and devastated the city of Paradise. Their strong desire was to help.


Jeri Rosen the founder and CEO of the nonprofit Working Wardrobes, and Ric and Karen Butera-King agreed the need for good clothing was paramount. Jeri’s organization was in a unique position to help address that need. The organization provides training and clothing to people in crisis, helping some 5,000 men, women and young adults each year re-enter the work force.

Having worked in this area for many years, Jeri had contacts who could provide significant quantities of clothing to ease the suffering of those who had lost nearly everything, but she didn’t have the resources to transport or distribute the clothing. Karen Butera-King put Jeri in contact with her brother, Matt Ball, director of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ public affairs office in Southern California. The public affairs team was already on the ground in Northern California and heavily involved in providing aid to the fire victims. They had a strong organization of people and the resources to distribute any clothing that Working Wardrobes could provide.

Jeri’s contacts included the Men’s Wearhouse and Alloy Apparel. Both companies generously provided suits, shirts, dresses, ties and assorted apparel items in quantities that would make a difference. After organizers made a last-minute call to request transportation assistance, Knight Transportation in Phoenix, Arizona, agreed to transport the clothing to Northern California at no charge. Within 36 hours of the first phone call, Knight Transportation had sent a semi-truck from Phoenix, loaded 22 pallets of clothing at the Working Wardrobes facility in Irvine, and delivered the pallets to Chico in Northern California. Russ Thayne and Josh Cook, public affairs leaders in the Chico area, made the arrangements to receive the clothing and prepare it for distribution.

Most of the donated clothing was brand-new and high quality, and its value has been estimated to exceed $300,000. Josh Cook, who was there to receive the shipment in Chico, commented, “This gift is amazing. … I have a lot of experience in philanthropy as well as disaster relief, and I have never seen anything like this!”

Jeri and Working Wardrobes were not finished. A week later, a second Knight Transportation truck loaded 26 more pallets of clothing in the Working Wardrobes facility in Irvine and delivered the shipment to Yuba City, California, where it was stored in a donated warehouse arranged by the Chico public affairs team.

The clothing is now being sorted by volunteers and will be distributed through churches of all faiths and other organizations who will get the goods into the hands of those who need it most. “It is amazing," said Matt Ball, “how much can be accomplished when good people of all faiths work together with the same vision.”

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.