The images and stories of the Western Wildfires — the Hill and Woolsey Fires in the LA area, and the Camp Fire in Northern California that has entirely decimated the town of Paradise — have been nothing short of horrifying. With upwards of a quarter-million evacuees so far and a growing list of fatalities, so many of us have friends and family impacted including parent bloggers in our community.
Related: How to talk to kids about tragedy and natural disaster: Helpful tips and resources.
This video of a dad calming his toddler daughter as they drove away puts the situation in sharp perspective for lots of us.
#Woolseyfire #CaliforniaWildfires ? pic.twitter.com/5eDuunuaLt
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) November 10, 2018
I know those of us fortune to be home safe right now (and who have some semblance of a heart) are asking what we can do to help the California fire victims and provide immediate relief to those in need, so I wanted to share a decidedly abbreviated list of the worthy orgs going around in my networks.
Please note — the LA Firefighters Association is posting that while they are honored for all the drop-offs of physical items, the stations can’t manage them at this time. What organizations really need right now is funding. Or if you are in the area and are donating goods, please connect with the local city council for designated donation center addresses.
Organizations that need immediate support for the victims, evacuees and first responders of the California fires: Updated
The American Red Cross
You can text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation, or visit the website. They’re providing medical support, shelter and food on the ground.
World Central Kitchen
This amazing organization has served close to 5 million meals in the past year alone, for victims of natural disasters. According to a recent WCK tweet, Chefs for California (with the help of companies including Trader Joe’s) are currently preparing thousands of fresh meals for both evacuees and first responders. They can use volunteers in the area, or donations toward meals. Visit their site, and follow @WCKitchen and @ChefJoseAndreas for up-to-the-minute details.
Paradise Elementary School
GoFundMe has consolidated various fundraising campaigns on this one page, broken up by causes like supporting animals or supporting first responders. Allow me to point you toward the fundraisers specifically for educators and schools impacted by the fires. At this time (11/13), the Paradise Elementary School has hardly raised $4,000 toward an ambitious $100,000 goal set by the mother of one of the second grade teachers there.
The Ventura County Community Foundation
Still reeling from the horrific mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, Ventura County is now dealing with natural disaster as well. Their Hill Fire/Woolsey Fire Sudden and Urgent Needs Effort Fund will help support other orgs in the community providing immediate need to those impacted.
United Way of LA Disaster Relief Fund
The United Way of Greater LA has partnered with the United Way of Ventura County created this fund specifically for victims of the Hill and Woolsey fires, with a focus on those of lower income who are impacted. You can donate by texting UWVC to 4144 or visit the website.
The Northern California United Way
In Butte County, the NoCal United Way needs cash assistance to provide one-time grants to those who lost their homes in the Camp Fire for urgent, basic necessities such as food, gas and clothing. Donate through the website or text BUTTEFIRE to 91999
The Los Angeles Firefighters Association
This non-profit is urging donations specifically for much-needed hydration backpacks for firefighters right now. Any amount you can donate will make a difference. Their website is crashing, so try @LAFDFoundation on Twitter or their Facebook page for updated info. The LAFD website also has useful info.
Photo via Rita Wilson on Twitter
The California Fire Foundation and the Firefighters Charitable Foundation
Two more organizations supporting the brave, heroic first responders on the front lines with emotional and financial assistance to current and fallen firefighters and their families.
The Baby2Baby Foundation
Baby2Baby is getting high-need items to children impacted by all three fires including diapers, wipes, blankets, strollers, portable cribs and warm jackets. They’ve created a Target registry including the specific items they need, though they’re accepting financial donations as well.
Caring Choices: Emergency Volunteer Center
This Chico-based org has created an effective emergency center for thousands of volunteers they’ve activated, and are putting all their other efforts on hold for now. They need monetary donations to help keep their work going. (Over the long term they will need more volunteers, but there’s currently a backlog in processing all the applications, which is wonderful. )
Animal Hope and Wellness
This California based rescue organization has put together an animal rescue team in Agora Hills to save pets that owners can’t reach and transport them to safety. I imagine any support you can offer will be put to good use.
The Humane Society of Ventura County
This is a private nonprofit (unaffiliated with the American Humane Society) that serves the people and animals of Ventura County exclusively, with 100% of donations going directly to support the evacuated animals in the area.
Google and The Center for Disaster Philanthropy
Google has set up a simple donation form right in your browser through this link, with donation going to The Center for Disaster Philanthropy so they can best be distributed to impactful non-profit organizations doing the most good around California right now.
One more note: While some people may hear “Malibu” and read about the number of celebrities who have evacuated or lost homes and think that your help isn’t needed, please know that the fires cover more than 70,000 acres in LA county alone as of this afternoon, while the Camp Fire in Butte County has consumed over 100,000 acres — and is still only 20% contained.
We’re talking about a very diverse area here. As for Malibu, Quinn Cummings has an outstanding thread about the geography and demographics and those who “live on the margins” that’s worth a read if you’re not familiar with the area.
Not that it matters how much your home is worth or how many people know your name when you’re fleeing for your life. Not that it matters how valuable property may be when it’s one of America’s treasures and it’s burnt to the ground.
On behalf of our entire team, our compassion, love, and support go out to everyone impacted by this tragic natural disaster.
Post last updated Nov 13, 2018
Another very direct and immediate way to help is through Woolsey Fire Relief. This is completely grass roots, started by a mom whose house narrowly missed the fire, but whose neighbors lost everything. She is a personal, reliable, trusted friend, and is working to get the basics to people who lost everything (gift cards to purchase diapers, groceries, undergarments, deodorant, shirts, pants, etc.)
Having just lived through this nightmare in the Santa Barbara area (fires and mudslide), we learned that getting this immediate assistance is critical. The great women who dove in to help in Santa Barbara are lending their expertise and suggestions to help the Woolsey Fire Relief women be as effective as possible.
Here is the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Woolsey-Fire-Relief-1183716938446493/
Here is the current list of needs (adding families every day): https://app.momclone.com/gatherings/996-woolsey-fire-relief
They are working on the nonprofit 501 (c) (3) status, but in the meantime, just mailing the gift cards is super impactful.
THANKS to everyone for caring!
Thank you so much Julie! I really appreciate you adding another resource.
Many thanks Liz…definitely takes a village…love to see regular people diving in and doing great things for others.
Great list! One more important organization to add – North Valley Community Foundation. https://www.nvcf.org/
They are a community foundation directing 100% of donated funds to evacuation centers and other small organizations while facilitating the administration of all the gifts. Managing all the donations is a huge burden for small organizations who are trying to provide direct service to those in need and community foundations help to lessen this burden.
Thank you Antoinette!
Thanks for this – was looking for organizations that could get the resources to those with immediate needs. After years of contributing to flood / hurricane victims (we live on the Gulf Coast) I have become wary of organizations that take the money and do not earmark it, just put it in their general funds.
I would click over to the sites to see what they’re doing, but off the top of my head, the United Way and the specific fire fighter fans as well as the animal rescue group moneys are all being put to use by the day . Thank you for your generosity!
Another great group helping others is Totally Local VC’s Local Love Project
(a 501C3). This is a grassroots organization that after loosing their homes jumped in to help victims of the Thomas Fire, Redding Fire and now the Camp Fire. They work to provide immediate help and assistance as those affected deal with the long term recovery ahead of them.
Hi there – thoughts on holiday gifting that benefits fire victims? For instance, last year I purchased gift items from a winery that donated 100% of proceeds from sales to the Sonoma fire relief funds. I’m looking to do something similar this year. Thanks! 🙂
Christina! We have been working on a post about that very thing right this instant and it should be up shortly. You are wonderful.
Stand by and keep an eye out.