How to support California wildfire victims

How to support California wildfire victims
Photo: James Rice/Hoodline Tipline
By Teresa Hammerl - Published on August 25, 2020.

California is currently fighting 17 large wildfires — and while San Francisco and Oakland are primarily experiencing their effects via unhealthy air quality, residents of the larger area are in dire need of support.

According to Cal Fire, seven people have lost their lives in the fires, and about 1,500 structures have been damaged or destroyed.

The best way to help those affected by the fires is to donate money to the disaster relief funds of the American Red Cross, the California Community Foundation or the Latino Community Foundation.

You can also donate to affected families directly. GoFundMe has launched a site with hundreds of families seeking relief after losing their homes.

While some organizations are also soliciting donations of items, COVID-19 precautions have made that process more fraught. Expect a preference for new, rather than used, items, and do your research in advance to see what specific items are most needed.

Many farms have been hard-hit by the fires, l horses, cattle, goats, and other large animals. Sonoma CART, which is evacuating and sheltering farm animals, is seeking donations for its work. Those with more than five years of experience with large animals can also sign up to volunteer.

As for domestic animals, Oakland's East Bay SPCA is seeking donations that will allow it to take in animals from shelters in the affected areas, and offer boarding for the pets of evacuees.

Local businesses are pitching in as well. San Francisco food truck collective Off the Grid has launched a campaign to provide free food-truck meals for first responders.

Those seeking to support firefighters can donate to them directly. However, Cal Fire has reminded donors that some fundraisers circulating on social media are not authentic. Always use caution before you donate.

One first responder who is confirmed to be in need is Evin Murphy, an EMT with the San Francisco Fire Department. Murphy's family lost their home in the Santa Cruz mountains during the fires, and the SFFD shared a fundraiser for them on Twitter.

Bay Area artists have also stepped up.

Ceramicist and painter Anastasia Tumanova is hosting a fundraiser for the Solano Disaster Relief Fund. She's selling raffle tickets for $15 each through Saturday; the winner will receive one of her handmade porcelain platters.

Jewelry maker Rachel T. Robertson is donating 25% of profits from necklace sales in her Etsy store to the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County's fire relief fund. 

And Outer Sunset-based 3 Fish Studio is selling a "hero print," with proceeds going to support fire relief efforts across California.

Have you heard about other fundraisers in San Francisco and Oakland? Text Hoodline at (415) 200-3233, or let us know in the comments.