The deadly outbreak of wildfires in Northern California is nearly 100% contained, but the road to recovery will be a long one. Losses are estimated to top $3 billion, and at least 14,000 homes have been destroyed in fires that ravaged tens of thousands of acres.
Recovery may take years, but there are many organizations on the ground looking to help speed things along.
IsraAID is helping with the efforts by sending out a team of emergency personnel. Aid workers are providing assistance in evacuation centers. IsraAID’s team began working in Santa Rosa, providing relief supplies and helping with stress management in the community.
Here’s how you can help the people who have lost their homes and communities.
Join the Open Homes Program
Airbnb launched the Open Homes program to help victims who have been displaced from their homes. The program allows Airbnb hosts to open their homes or land for free to those affected by the wildfires.
If you own a home in Berkeley, San Francisco and Oakland, you can also host evacuees. A local group has also organized a Google Docs page with listings from people who want to open their homes to evacuees. While not part of a formal program, the list gives victims another avenue to find shelter.
If you own property in the area, you might consider opening your door to those who need a safe place to stay. Shelter and warmth are perhaps the greatest gifts you could give these families.
Donate to an Organization That’s Helping Victims
A cash donation is one of the best ways Israelis can help victims. Texans star Jared Goff is raising money to help wildfire victims. Singer Josh Pfeiffer has pledged to donate six months of the proceeds from his single to CA’s wildfire victims.
Before making a donation, check the California Office of the Attorney General’s website to make sure it’s a legitimate organization. Reputable organizations in need of donations include:
- United Way Bay Area
- The Salvation Army
- North Bay Fire Relief Fund
- American Red Cross
- North Coast Opportunities
- Napa Valley Community Foundation
If you live in the area, you might also consider volunteering to help with one of these organizations.
Organizations and officials are also looking for donations of critical supplies, like food, water, blankets, pet food and baby food. These items are sent to evacuation centers for victims of the fires. Facebook has also created a crisis response page that lists other needed items.
The Redwood Empire Food Bank is looking for non-perishable and ready-to-eat food items that are easy to open, like granola bars, beef jerky and peanut butter.
Along with these critical supplies, air respirators are also needed. Air quality has reached dangerously poor levels in many of the areas surrounding the fires.
Don’t Forget the Pets
Humans aren’t the only ones who lost their homes. Many pets have been displaced or are living with their families in shelters. Many shelters don’t allow pets, which forces owners to find other options.
Volunteering to foster displaced pets or making a donation can go a long way in making sure these four-legged friends get the care they need. Here are a few organizations to consider:
Along with cash donations, these organizations can also use pet food, toys, blankets and other pet supplies.