The Northern California fires are still raging through the Napa and Solano counties. This massive, unrelenting group of fires has been difficult to contain due to the extremely dry conditions with gusty winds. At least 5700 structures have already been devastated, and there are many more in its unsparing path. The fire has already consumed 182,000 acres of land claiming at least 40 lives. This leaves many of us with the nagging feeling of how we can help. I’ve combed through the Internet to provide you a few different ways that you can help out today.
Groups Accepting Donations:
- Northern California Fire Fund (Northern California Grantmakers) Serving Northern California
- Northern California Fire Fund (Silicon Valley Community Foundation) Serving Northern California
- The Salvation Army Serving Northern California
- Community Foundation of Mendocino County: Disaster Donation Page Serving Mendocino County
- Community Foundation of Sonoma County: Resiliency Donation Page Serving Sonoma County
- North Bay Fire Recovery Fund Serving Lake County
- North Coast Opportunities Serving Lake County
- Center for Volunteering and Nonprofit Leadership Serving Napa and Sonoma Counties
Donate Cash or Gift Cards:
Many of the area residents have been forced to evacuate or have lost everything. They are in immediate need of many essentials including toiletries and clothing. Most of the shelters are overwhelmed with the amount of goods that have been donated. It certainly shows the love, care, and generosity that has been extended to the victims. However, many of the donation items are disproportionate. A volunteer from a shelter in Petaluma, reported that they received 3000 sticks of deodorant. These in-kind donations can cause congestion and unfortunately may never be distributed. Gift cards to national retailers are a good alternative to help out. Many victims have allergies or need specific toiletries — contact lens solution for example — that it would be impossible to purchase all the items they desperately need. Therefore you may consider donating gift cards to Target, CVS, Wal-Mart, Kohls, Amazon, or any other national chain store.
If you still wish to donate goods, below is a list of items that has been requested. Please note: the Napa Food Bank and Napa College Shelter have plenty of food and water, and they do not need any additional food donations at this time.
- New toothbrushes, toothpaste, and dental floss
- Hair shampoo, conditioner, and brushes or combs
- Washcloths, towels, and soap or body wash
- Diapers, both child and adult sizes
- Toilet paper
- Feminine hygiene products
- Underwear and socks, new and in the package
- Clothing included all sizes if pajamas
- Gift cards for big box or national chain stores
- Phone changers
- N95 masks
- Pillows, blankets and bedding
- Toys, books, puzzles, and games for children
- Aspirin, painkillers, and first aid supplies
- Pet supplies (food, litter, etc)
- Mops, cleaning supplies and garbage bags
- Bleach wipes and hand sanitizer
Provide Volunteer Housing:
If you are in the Bay Area or surrounding neighborhood, and an Airbnb host, they started a program for hosts to open their homes to evacuees for free through 10/30/2017. Additionally, a Google Doc page has been created to allow residents to list volunteer housing in neighboring communities. You can also visit the Facebook crisis page to learn more about ways you can help out.