Rake in the Donations for Fire Victims in California

  • Week of November 18, 2018

In case you missed it, Trump advised that California should keep the forests safe by raking them. And the world appropriately raked him over the coals for his ignorant comment--Twitter exploded with #RakeAmericaGreatAgain.

All-of-us know that only thing we should be raking (in) right now are the donations to the thousands of victims who have lost everything in the deadliest fire in the state’s history. And that’s why we are devoting our sole action this week to supporting the victims of the Camp Fire in California.

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.

So here’s how:

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.

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: The Salvation Army is providing meals to shelters in local churches, fairgrounds and a community college.

Crowdfunding as a way to help
There are multiple crowdfunding efforts for victims of the California fires.

GoFundMe has organized a page that catalogs the relief efforts in Northern and Southern California. It includes links to donate to families who have lost their homes.

Airbnb has launched a program that asks people to open their homes to those affected by the fires. Until Nov. 29, the company is allowing residents to mark their homes as a place for evacuees and aid workers to stay for free.