Panda Express helps employees after Almeda fire

MEDFORD, Ore. – Many stories of hope are rising from the ashes after the Almeda fire. Housing is an immediate problem and when multiple employees from a local restaurant chain lost their home to the Almeda fire, the regional team stepped up to help.

Five local Panda Express employees lost their homes in the Almeda fire. After the regional team heard about the loss, they stepped up to find them a new home. “You know i think i’m very ‘Panda Proud’,” said the acting Regional Director in Washington and Oregon for Panda Express, Ryan Dermody.

With so many displaced residents, housing hasn’t been easy to find. “We were running into a lot of wait listing,” said Dermody. That is, until they were able to meet Mary and Kyle Quaid. “Kyle shared with me that one of their tenants fell through, that they were going to have rent their house. They were interested to see if we were interested to come in and take a look. I told them absolutely,” said Dermody.

“They came over and looked at the place and it was just so nice to see them vouch for them personally and professionally,” said Mary Quaid.

The employees will be moving into their new home in Medford next week. “They told us they were willing to buy all of their furniture for them, food…anything they needed,” said Quaid.

With $12,000 raised in a GoFundMe, the company will be able to provide anything else their employees need.

That’s not all Panda Express has done for the community. The chain has also been feeding hot meals to people displaced due to the fires. Dermody says they’ve fed over 1,200 people so far and they have plans to continue.

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Madison LaBerge
Madison LaBerge is the anchor of NBC5 News Weekends at 6 and 11. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Madison is originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico. She loves living in the Pacific Northwest. She can't get over "how green everything is!" When Madison is not at work, she looks for new and exciting cooking recipes and explores Southern Oregon. Feel free to send her story ideas or the address of your favorite Mexican food restaurant!
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