The wildfires in California are an American tragedy, with more than 50 dead, some 1,000 people missing, thousands of homes and businesses destroyed, hundreds of thousands evacuated, and more than 200,000 acres scorched.
Here’s where to donate to the national and local charities and community groups, including those rescuing stranded animals.
Always check a charity’s reputation to be sure it is using donations effectively and that your donation goes to the people who need it.
Our go-to charity monitoring and rating group is Charity Navigator.
Beware of bogus charities and scam artists which crop up after every disaster, often with names that are similar to legitimate top-rated charities.
Local California non- profits seeking donations
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: On the ground and 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 duties including caring for displaced animals and, for those who are certified doctors or nurses, offering medical care. 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: 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.
Sierra Club California – 100% of your contribution will go to community relief and recovery groups working on the ground to help those affected by this terrible and ongoing disaster.
National non-profits seeking donations
American Red Cross: 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.
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.
United Way of Northern California: This local chapter of the national nonprofit has established a disaster relief fund to offer emergency cash and help to people who have lost their homes, according to a news release.
There also 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.
Google is collecting donations to help those affected by the wildfires in Southern California. It will funnel the donations to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, which will distribute the money to local nonprofits.
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.
Thanks to corporations supporting firefighters
Shake Shack is donating 100% of sales at its Westlake Village Shack on Tuesday, Nov. 13, to the Ventura County Community Foundation. Shake Shack also is providing free meals all week to the firefighters, police and resccue workers in Thousand Oaks.
This list is adapted from one published in the NYTimes, with some ecoXplorer changes and additions.
Photo courtesy FEMA
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