Eduardo Garcia, left, is served a warm meal during a community Thanksgiving celebration at the California State University-Chico. The construction worker years ago helped build the Chico State auditorium hosting the meal, plastering its exterior walls, he says. Wildfire destroyed Garcia's home in the town of Paradise, and his immediate family lives in Hawaii.
Kathleen Ronayne/AP

The Camp Fire forced them from their homes. So, strangers brought Thanksgiving to them

Updated 8:57 AM ET, Fri November 23, 2018

Eduardo Garcia, left, is served a warm meal during a community Thanksgiving celebration at the California State University-Chico. The construction worker years ago helped build the Chico State auditorium hosting the meal, plastering its exterior walls, he says. Wildfire destroyed Garcia's home in the town of Paradise, and his immediate family lives in Hawaii.
Kathleen Ronayne/AP

Their homes lie in ashes. Their neighbors, perhaps hundreds of them, can't be found. And at least for now, they're living in motels, tents, some even in their cars.

Still, Thanksgiving offered the trappings of tradition and community to thousands of survivors of the ravaging wildfires in Northern California.

Armies of volunteers, including some of the world's most famous chefs, joined forces Thursday to serve turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and pie in the city of Chico, where evacuees of the deadly Camp Fire had amassed to escape the flames and ponder an uncertain future.

So, on this day, as happens every day in America, strangers gladly acted as servants so those in need could, at least for the duration of a meal, enjoy a moment's peace.