Here Are the Best Ways You Can Help Those Affected by the California Wildfires
It’s been less than a week since fires started blazing out of control on both ends of California and the damage to our Golden State, to say the least, is devastating. The three fires that broke out Thursday, named Camp, Hill, and Woolsey, have taken 44 lives and forced 300,000 people to evacuate. In the north, the Camp Fire has broken records as the most destructive wildfire in California’s history. Meanwhile, in Los Angeles and Ventura County, the Woolsey Fire has wreaked havoc on an iconic stretch of California coastline. And as of Tuesday, the fires were still only partially contained.
Wondering what you can do to help? Read on for ways you can support organizations that are lending hands to those who need it most.
To Help Families Displaced by the Fires
The Red Cross of Los Angeles and Ventura counties and Gold Country region (Northern California) provides shelter, food, and support to families fleeing their homes in an emergency, as well as helps families connect with their loved ones following a disaster. Due to the influx of donated items and the time to process goods, the organization requests all support be made as financial donations.
The California Community Foundation’s Wildfire Relief Fund supports intermediate and long-term recovery efforts for those displaced by major California wildfires. Grants are used to help rebuild homes, provide case management services, financial assistance, and follow-up medical care, as well as to educate homeowners about disaster preparedness for the future.
The North Valley Community Foundation has set up a Camp Fire relief fund to provide financial resources to agencies and organizations who are helping those affected by the fires in and around Paradise, California.
The Ventura County Community Foundation has set up a similar fund to provide shelter and long-term housing, economic and rental assistance, legal services, healthcare and more to families directly impacted by the Southern California wildfires.
Founded by firefighters, the California Fire Foundation supports victims of fire disasters through its SAVE (Supplying Aid to Victims of Emergency) program. Through the program, firefighters on the ground in affected areas are able to distribute $100 gift cards directly to families in order to provide immediate, short-term assistance for necessities such as food and clothing.
To Help Kids
The Butte County Office of Education created the Schools Fire Relief Fund to provide direct support to schools in Butte County (including the devastated Paradise). Donations can specify a specific district or use (such as textbooks or clothing) for the funds that go directly to children in the area.
Baby2Baby, a non-profit that provides low-income children with diapers, clothing, and other basic necessities, is collecting high-need items for families affected by the fires in both Northern and Southern California. Help by purchasing from their registry.
To Help Firefighters and First Responders
The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) has set up a disaster relief fund to help firefighters who are working the front lines both financially and emotionally via counseling services. Additionally, firefighters whose own homes have been damaged or destroyed are eligible to receive a $500 gift card to find temporary housing for their families.
Direct Relief International provides resources, such as respirators and oxygen concentrators, to first responders and public health departments in times of emergency. As of Monday, they have distributed more than 20,000 respirators and 20 oxygen concentrators to help with relief in Northern California, and another 40,000 respirators throughout Los Angeles County.
The Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation provides equipment and supplies, such as hydration packs, to firefighters on the front lines of major disasters. Due to the wave of goods the LAFD has received, the Foundation is requesting only financial donations be made.
The Butte County Firefighter Benevolent Foundation, which provides financial assistance to members of the Butte County Fire Department in need, has set up a GoFundMe page to help more than 30 firefighters whose homes were destroyed in the Northern California Wildfires. The organization in Oroville, California, is hoping to raise $250,000 to help these firefighters, who’ve been battling the flames on the front lines, rebuild their homes.
To Help Animals
Among the animals the Humane Society of Ventura County has rescued or helped evacuate are hundreds of farm animals, including those owned by actor Patrick Dempsey and his wife, Jillian. The non-profit is continuing to accept animals from families who are displaced following the fires. The best way to help is to donate to the organization’s general fund.
The Los Angeles Animal Care Foundation is a non-profit that raises money to support the animals within the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control. The foundation has taken in numerous animals as a result of the fires—some whom have homes and families to return to and some who do not. (If you’re contemplating an adoption and live near the area, now is a good time to do it.) Otherwise, the non-profit is in need of donations to care for the animals displaced from the fires.
The North Valley Animal Disaster Group has rescued and taken in more than 1,400 animals from the regions affected by the Camp Fire, including hundreds of dogs and cats, 130 horses, 77 goats, and eight pigs. Donations are needed to help feed and care for the animals.