Wildfires are once again causing havoc up and down this great state of ours with many losing their homes and loved ones. Want to do something to help but don’t know the best way? Start by checking out the information below.
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.