How to Help Those Affected by the California Fires

By Julia Jacobs as published on the NYT

Three wildfires in California have displaced hundreds of thousands of people and destroyed thousands of homes. So far, 31 people have died.

As of Sunday morning, 111,000 acres had been burned by the fire in the northern part of the state, called the Camp Fire. It has turned into the most destructive in the state’s history and one of the most deadly. Another 88,000 acres have been scorched in Southern California by the two fires called the Woolsey and Hill.

Here’s how you can help.

Remember to do your research on a charity’s reputation for using donations effectively. Charity Navigator is a good source to consult.

Also, remember that sending money is almost always the most efficient way to help in a disaster, according to the Center for International Disaster Information, part of the United States Agency for International Development.

If volunteers on the ground end up with a mountain of donated goods, they’ll have to spend time sorting through them rather than buying exactly what’s needed.

California Community Foundation’s Wildfire Relief Fund: For 15 years, the foundation has offered aid to those affected by wildfires. Grants have gone to rebuilding homes, providing financial and mental health assistance and helping those affected to get medical treatment.

Caring Choices: This nonprofit, which is in Chico, Calif., has turned into a hub for organizing volunteers to help those affected by the Camp Fire. Volunteers are assigned a variety of duties, including caring for displaced animals and, for those who are certified doctors or nurses, offering medical care.

The organization has paused taking on new volunteers for the next few days but still encourages applications. It said it will need extra hands in the coming weeks. Caring Choices is also seeking monetary donations for its operations.

Enloe Medical Center: This 298-bed hospital is in Chico, the site of multiple evacuation centers for the Camp Fire. It is accepting donations for patients and families who have been displaced.

Entertainment Industry Foundation: This nonprofit, started by Hollywood stars, has a fund that helps firefighters and other emergency workers battling California wildfires. One of its beneficiaries is the Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation, which provides hydration backpacks and night vision goggles for helicopter pilots. Another beneficiary provides meals for emergency workers and evacuees staying in shelters.

Humane Society of Ventura County: This nonprofit is accepting donations to help animals displaced by the Woolsey and Hill Fires. It is taking in domestic animals, such as dogs, cats and birds, as well as livestock.

North Valley Community Foundation: This nonprofit in Chico is raising money to support organizations that are sheltering evacuees of the Camp Fire. These could include churches, fairgrounds and community centers, said Logan Todd, a foundation spokesman.

Salvation Army: At both ends of the state, the Salvation Army is providing meals to shelters in local churches, fairgrounds and a community college.

United Way of Greater Los Angeles: This local branch of the national organization is raising money for those affected by the Woolsey and Hill Fires, specifically to help low-income residents.

United Way of Northern California: This local chapter of the national nonprofit has established a disaster relief fund to offer emergency cash and help to people who have lost their homes, according to a news release.

There are multiple crowdfunding efforts for victims of the California fires. GoFundMe has organized a page that catalogs the relief efforts in Northern and Southern California. It includes links to donate to families who have lost their homes.

Google is collecting donations to help those affected by the wildfires in Southern California. It will funnel the donations to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, which will distribute the money to local nonprofits.

9 comments

  1. This is such a tragedy! People and animals killed a displaced! And the very rude comments made by Donald Trump about the firefighters and local officials just disgusting! I’ll willed and uneducated! I continue to pray for the safety of all involved. And will do what I can to help.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Is there any information on the horses & other wildlife? It’s horrible looks like the whole state is on fire, I feel so bad for the people & critters (domestic & wild). Prayers for all

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I found this clip of some reporters turning loose some corralled horses and rescuing at least one dog as the owners were not home and the fire was racing towards them. Good reminder to all to make plans for others who might have to evac your animals if you can’t get to them in time:

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This family saved their horses but lost everything else, and are stuck without power, food, hay, and low on water. It could be any of us. Some companies are matching donations and letting employees volunteer. Can anyone else in the area do this? Surely the wildlife folks could airlift in some hay and food drops???

    From the comments here are some local rescue groups helping out:

    I can’t imagine the pain of loss that these people are feeling. I hope they know that people are concerned and want to help. My company is matching all donations and allowing people to take time off to volunteer. The victims are saying they are getting support from the Red Cross, so consider donating and specifying that you want your donation to go to the Camp Fire victims.

    There are both individuals as well as rescue organizations that are reaching out to the local livestock Evac/Emergency team to offer help, including taking in (fostering) animals while their owners work to recover. In Chico, NVADG (North Valley Animal Disaster Group) is performing the evacuation of the animals to the fairgrounds, coordinating resources and trying to find longer term solutions for people with livestock and pets. If you can take in livestock, please contact them and let them know what you have (acres, fencing type, animals you can take in.)

    In the bay area, the Hold Your Horses Livestock Emergency Evacuation Response Team and the Napa Community Animal Response Team are providing support based on their learnings from previous fires and the knowledge they built during previous emergencies. If you want to make a donation, you can reach out to these organizations or see their Facebook pages to identify suppliers of hay and other needs that are putting donation shipments together for the victims.

    https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/11/15/13-horses-saved-but-with-homes-gone-and-a-baby-on-the-way-what-is-one-paradise-family-to-do/

    Liked by 1 person

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