Crisis response; Ways to help those affected by the California Wildfires

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Massive fires are ravaging California at the moment, and the results are heartbreaking. If you are wondering how you can help - we're compiling a list. Support what you can, where you can, and let's not forget the animals!

From the NY Times:

Three wildfires in California have displaced hundreds of thousands of people and destroyed thousands of homes. So far, 44 people have died.

As of Sunday morning, 117,000 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 98,000 acres have been scorched in Southern California by the Woolsey and Hill fires.

Here’s how you can help.

Research before you donate

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.
Nonprofits that are seeking donations

American Red Cross: This nonprofit has opened shelters across the state to help evacuees. They also have an online tool that people can use to register themselves as safe so loved ones can find them.

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.

California Fire Foundation: This organization is on the ground distributing financial assistance to people who have lost everything in the fires. Through its emergency assistance program, firefighters distribute pre-paid gift cards to help those who need to purchase necessities like food, medicine and clothing.

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.

From SF Gate:

Donations of new clothing, undergarments, shoes and socks can be taken to the Oroville Municipal Auditorium at 1200 Myers St. Evacuees also need paper products, visa gift cards, new pillows, blankets, towels and washcloths.

The Hope Center in Oroville is still taking donations at its warehouse at 2850 Feather River Blvd., but it will no longer accept anything at its Kitrick Avenue A location. The Hope Center has asked for backpacks, new undergarments, non-perishable foods, paper products and bedding items.

For animal relief, the Butte Humane Society at 2580 Fair St. in Chico is accepting pet supplies, such as wet and dry dog and cat food, litter boxes, kennels and carriers, leashes and toys. For those who don’t live nearby, the Humane Society also set up an Amazon wish list to donate pet supplies online.

Here are ways to help through monetary donations:


The North Valley Community Foundation has two funds:
The Camp Fire Evacuation Relief Fund and the Butte County Schools Fire Relief Fund. Donors can make an open gift to the school fund, or designate a specific use, like textbooks or school supplies. Donations are accepted through the foundations’ website.

Monetary donations may also be made to the American Red Cross. Visit, call 1-800-733-2767 or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

The United Way of Northern California is taking donations for its NorCal Fire Relief Fund through its website and by text: send the message BUTTEFIRE to 91999.

From Fast Company:
Donate Goods or Services

    Give an evacuee or a firefighter a free place to stay through Airbnb. Find out more here.
    If you’re in California, donate non-perishable food items to the Salvation Army Ventura Corps, which is providing food and shelter to victims and first responders.
    Caring Choices in Butte County is currently looking for medical volunteers.
    Other volunteer opportunities related to the fires are posted on California Volunteers, including financial and other donations.

Donate Money

    GoFundMe has set up pages to directly help people affected by the fires. Head here to help.
    Facebook has a Crisis Response page for the Woolsey Fire, which includes fundraising through GlobalGiving.
    Google is channeling donations through the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. Read more about it here.
    The Red Cross is providing both shelter and emotional support for evacuees. You can visit, or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make an automatic $10 donation.
    Give to the Ventura County Community Foundation‘s Hill Fire and Woolsey Fire Sudden and Urgent Needs Effort Fund.
    The United Way of Greater Los Angeles is partnering with United Way of Ventura County to collect donations to its Disaster Relief Fund
. Donate online or  text “UWVC to 41444.”
    Donate directly to Direct Relief, which helps provide resources to healthcare agencies and first responders in wildfire-affected areas across California. Tito’s Handmade Vodka is matching all donations, up to $15,000.
    The Salvation Army Ventura Corps is accepting donations to go toward California wildfire relief.
    The California Fire Foundation is a nonprofit that is distributing emergency funds to fire victims, including distributing prepaid credit cards to help victims buy food, clothing, and shelter. Donate to the SAVE program here.
    Since the fires are in Hollywood’s backyard, the Entertainment Industry Foundation is raising money through its Fire Relief Fund to help those affected. Last year funds went to the L.A. Fire Department, L.A. Kitchen, and the Humane Society of Ventura County.
    You can also donate directly to the Los Angeles Fire Department.
    The Firefighters Charitable Foundation accepts donations to support volunteer fire stations and help wildfire victims.
    Baby2Baby is distributing essential items to children affected by the ongoing fires. Help them supply diapers, wipes, blankets, and other basic baby needs by purchasing from their registry.

Help Animals

    The Humane Society of Ventura County
is accepting animals evacuating from the Hill and Woolsey fires, and they’re also looking for support. You can donate to the organization here or purchase needed items through their Amazon Wish List here. Locals can also apply to volunteer to help evacuate animals in the future.
    Give money to the Los Angeles County Animal Care Foundation
, which will support various shelters’ relief efforts.