We are saddened about the fires happening just a few miles from home, in the North Coast area. Lives have been lost, houses and businesses have been destroyed. We want to help in these tragedies, but it's not always easy to know how to do so. Here are a few options, below. It's definitely a non-exhaustive list. If you think of any other good ones, let us know.
Let people know if you are safe
If you were in an area impacted by the fires, or know someone who was, Safe and well provides a place for you to register so that others can check on your status.
Many shelters have sufficient supplies. MONETARY DONATIONS MAY BE BEST, as families can use them to purchase what they need. Read this article for some more thoughts on this.
Unlike material donations, cash involves no transportation costs, shipping delays, or customs fees. It also enables relief organizations to spend more time providing aid by spending less time managing goods," — USAID
- Red Cross: choose California Wildfires in the drop-down menu. You can also call 1-800 RED CROSS; or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation
- United Way Wine Country
- There are multiple crowd-funding campaigns soliciting donations.
GoFundMe recommends this campaign
Petaluma-based Fundly recommends this one
- Santa Rosa has its own YouCaring page for Tubbs Fire victims
- Redwood Empire Food Bank is accepting donations of food and money and also needs volunteers. Non-perishable and ready-to-eat items can be taken to 3990 Brickway Blvd., in Santa Rosa
- Idle Hand in San Francisco is serving as a drop-off location and make trips to Wine Country to deliver them
- Our Neighbor Cinta Aveda is collecting donations at 343 Kearny Street for all things toiletries, blankets, pillows, baby food and more.
- Love on Haight is giving away free clothes to fire victims, if you are looking for a quick place to donate.
- Airbnb is helping members offer housing to evacuees
- Love on Haight is also helping to arrange lodging for evacuees
Brigid's Well Center in Sebastopol. Offering support to women at all stage of pregnancy, and also accepting pregnancy, birth & baby needs (diapers, maternity clothes, baby clothes, sanitary supplies etc).
Someone pointed out that there are many (likely "undocumented") workers in the vineyards, farms and other places needing services. They are not likely to report to a shelter, and therefore are outside the range of care our communities are offering. They gather in groups by the roadside in the more rural backroads. If you are driving up Sebastopol way (or surroundings) carry some large jugs of water, food, blankets, socks, etc to hand out if you are so moved. Don't expect a conversation or eye contact. These folks are scared on many levels.
Pets & Animals
Animal shelters and rescue need crates, pens, dog food, livestock fencing, bedding, animal feed, water, and masks (which are sold out locally)
They also need fosters! Between Hurricane Irma and now the fires, just Hopalong has rescued 100s of cats and dogs in the last month. Fostering is easy and rewarding. The organization provided everything you need.
Advice for victims, from someone who lived through the 1991 Oakland Hills fire:
- Contact their insurance companies. Most will cover hotel stays, apart from the usual coverage.
- Call their credit card companies and have the last 3-6 months of their purchases reimbursed back (get a police report that testifies you are a fire victim).
- If you are renting and are a minor, your parents' home insurance may cover your belongings (this is how I got my stuff reimbursed through my parent's home insurance even if they lived 300 miles away at that time).
- Call your chain retail stores and see what they can offer to fire victims (I remember GAP gave away free clothes to fire victims up to $500 per person...yes my roommates and I were like walking GAP ads but literally that was all the clothes we had).
- Get as many resources and information as you can and keep passing the info around. You will see the kindness of strangers and the familial treatment of friends.
#BayAreaUnite #NorthCalFires #solidarity