After a natural disaster, the main questions on everyone’s mind are:
- What can I do to help?
- Where do I send donations?
- What needs to be donated?
The recent wildfires in California are no exception. People everywhere mobilized immediately to aid the fire-ravaged area. Sometimes, though, this can be more hindrance than help. For example, well-intentioned locals arrived in burned-out neighborhoods to assist with clean-up efforts. The ashes from the remains of homes and cars are toxic, however, and the local people were not trained to properly dispose of hazardous material, posing a risk to their own health.
Because the needs of survivors can change daily, and may differ from one area to the next, the best way to help after a natural disaster is to do a little research first. A quick search of news websites from the area, or of social media pages, will give you a good idea of the areas that need aid most. On Facebook, you can search Tubbs Fire, for example, and find multiple groups organizing aid for the area.
For Napa Valley, the greatest need is monetary donations. This is the most practical, as cash can be put to a variety of uses to help the region recover. Money can be sent via the Napa Valley Community Foundation’s website, which accepts credit cards, checks, and wire transfers.
Crowdfunding is another good way to donate. Check websites like GoFundMe and YouCaring, which have multiple fundraisers for the areas affected by the fires.
If you prefer a more traditional charity, you can donate to The United Way of the Wine Country, Salvation Army NorCal Wildfire Fund, or The Red Cross. The Red Cross is asking for both donations and volunteers.
Redwood Credit Union has set up funds to collect for relief efforts as well.
The Graton Day Labor Center, along with other advocacy groups, are helping to support undocumented or displaced workers who have lost their jobs and income due to the fires.
Finally, animal shelters and stores in the Bay Area need volunteers and monetary donations to help animals who have lost their homes or owners. The Napa, Sonoma, and Marin County Humane Societies are specifically asking for monetary aid, while The Napa County Animal Shelter and Adoption Center is asking for volunteers to show up at 8 a.m. to help clean and organize.
More info, including links, can be found at http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-help-california-fires-20171014-story.html.