November 12, 2018 - By Shawn Boyd - Neighbor helping neighbor. Californians go the extra mile to help a friend in need. When it comes to big disasters the need grows exponentially, but thoughtful consideration is just as important as speed.
According to California volunteers, it will take some time to identify specific needs, but financial donations to grant-making organizations and nonprofit disaster response organizations are the best way to help individuals and families affected by disasters. As needs are identified, this information will be posted on this website as well as California Volunteers’s site, which strongly encourages donors to carefully research charitable organizations prior to donating to ensure that their donated funds will have the desired result.
Research before you donate
Remember to do your research on a charity’s reputation for using donations effectively. Charity Navigator is a good source to consult. Also, remember that 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.
Tips for Making Effective Donations
Before donating, review these suggestions so that your gift will count as much as possible.
- Find out whether the charity you’re considering is helping in California. Even if a charity has a top rating from a watchdog, it may not be involved with the California wildfire relief efforts. Call the organization or check its website to find out.
- Donate money. This is generally better than giving supplies or other items that must be shipped to the disaster location. Charities helping on the ground are in a good position to know what’s needed.
- Give for the long term. The effects of disasters such as the California wildfires can go on for months or years, notes Daniel Borochoff, founder of CharityWatch. So consider making additional contributions later on.
- Beware of unsolicited appeals. Don’t blindly respond to charity appeals that show up in an email or text from someone you don’t know. It may be a scam, Borochoff says.
- Use crowdfunding websites cautiously. Though you can turn to a site such as GoFundMe or GiveForward to make donations to people you know, Borochoff says that with others, it can be difficult to know whether a fundraising campaign is legitimate and whether the money will be used as represented. Also keep in mind that crowdfunding websites usually take a small percentage of every donation and charge a separate processing fee. Note that donations to individuals typically aren’t tax-deductible.
Below are valuable resources to help you choose wisely.
A state office that manages volunteer programs in California has created a list of services and donation options to help victims affected by the current wildfires as well as the Carr, Ferguson, Mendocino Complex and Cranston fires. People can use the list to find information about donations and volunteering.
Charity Guide and Research Resources
Highly-rated organizations providing relief and support to those affected by devastating wildfires
Search GuideStar for the most complete, up-to-date nonprofit data available.
Episcopal Relief & Development is partnering with the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles to provide emergency support to help the most vulnerable impacted by the wildfires spreading across Southern California
OpUSA remains committed to providing relief and recovery to communities impacted by all recent fires.
Direct Relief responds each year to wildfires throughout the Western U.S., including the series of devastating fires burning in its home state of California.
Give.org is the website of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance
CharityWatch announces a list of highly efficient and accountable charities involved in efforts to provide assistance to victims of the California wildfires.
EMERGENCY UPDATE: @LAFDFoundation needs your help. We’re requesting donations at http://supportLAFD.org to provide hydration backpacks for @LAFD firefighters working tirelessly to contain the fires across Southern California. Any amount of money you can spare makes a difference.
There are two common questions you may be asking yourself:
Q) Why can’t I just drop off bags of clothes and other things I think would help someone?
A) Donation centers appreciate the heart-felt gestures people make to help others in unfortunate circumstances, but the reality is they often get mounds of things they just can’t use and then have to pay to get rid of them. So it’s best to check and see what they need before you make the trip to donate.
Q) Why shouldn’t I go into a disaster area to help?
A) Many reasons, the first of which is your safety. There are hazards you likely are unaware of. Also, too many people traveling into the danger zone causes unwanted and unnecessary obstacles for response and recovery workers.
California Community Foundation: The California Community Foundation’s Wildfire Relief Fund supports intermediate and long-term recovery efforts for major California wildfires, as well as preparedness efforts.
GoFundMe has created a list of verified campaigns that are raising money for those impacted by the Carr Fire. Donors can send money to help families, residents and firefighters.
Facebook has launched a crisis response page for those affected by the fires in Northern California. Users can create public posts on the page to request, find or offer help. They also have the option to donate money directly to relief efforts such as GlobalGiving.
The Wildfire Firefighter Foundation is accepting donations to help families of firefighters killed in the line of duty and to assist injured firefighters and their families.
CNN’s Impact Your World initiative has created a page to collect donations that will go toward seven organizations working on helping the victims of California’s wildfires. The organizations include The Community Foundation Sonoma County, Convoy of Hope and Direct Relief.
The Firefighters Charitable Foundation accepts donations to support volunteer fire stations, and helps wildfire victims.
NorCal: Camp Fire
In-kind Donations: Collection Center, Oroville Municipal Auditorium, 1200 Myers, Oroville
Families Coming to Shop: Distribution Center, Hope Center, 1950 Kitrick Ave, Oroville
For In-kind Donations with Tractor Trailer Deliveries: 2850 Feather River Blvd., Call Todd at 530-282-6750 for delivery arrangements
- The Butte County Fairgrounds in Gridley need these donations: New towels, and new clothing in all sizes, including shoes, undergarments, sweatshirts and bras. They do not currently need food or water.
- The Yuba-Sutter Fairgrounds in Yuba City are in need of pet food and supplies (collars, leashes), cat litter, food bowls for animals and hay for livestock. These can be dropped off at the livestock area of the fairgrounds.
- The Yuba-Sutter Habitat For Humanity in Marysville is accepting material donations like clothing and shoes. Address: 202 D St., Marysville, CA 95901
- The Sutter Fire Department, is taking donations of paper cups, paper plates, paper towels, animal food, new jackets, new coats, and bottled water. Address: 2340 California St., Sutter, CA 95982
- Hope Center in Oroville is taking donations of warm clothes, shoes, socks, and coats (primarily for elderly residents). Address: 1950 Kitrick Ave Ste A, Oroville, CA 95966
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.
United Way of Northern California has established the Shasta County Fire Relief Fund to help victims of the Carr Fire. To donate, people can text CARRFIRE to 91999 or visit the organization’s website.
The American Red Cross is providing shelter and aid for fire victims in Northern California. Those who want to help the organization can make $10 donations to the Red Cross by texting REDCROSS to 90999 or by visiting its website, redcross.org.
The Shasta Regional Community Foundation is accepting donations for its Community Disaster Relief Fund. The money collected will be funneled to local nonprofits and disaster relief organizations.
Butte County’s Camp Fire Information is directing donations to the North Valley Community Foundation – Camp Fire Evacuation Relief Fund
The Salvation Army, Del Oro Division: We began our response work for the Camp Fire on November 8, and we’ve expanded our efforts as the fire has expanded.
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.
Caring Choices: This nonprofit, which is in Chico, California, 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.
SoCal: Woolsey/Hill Fires
Donate to the Ventura County Community Foundation: The Ventura County Community Foundation has established the Hill Fire/Woolsey Fire Sudden and Urgent Needs Effort Fund to support the immediate needs of community nonprofit organizations serving those affected by the wildfires.
Donate cash or supplies to the Humane Society of Ventura County: The Humane Society of Ventura County is open for those who have been evacuated and are in need of sanctuary for dogs, cats, horses or other domesticated animals. They said they are in need of 40-gallon horse water troughs and horse electrolytes. Supplies donations can be dropped off at the shelter at 402 Bryant St. in Ojai. Those who cannot bring supplies to the shelter can make cash donations on HSVC’s website.
Make a cash donation to the Los Angeles County Animal Care Foundation: The County of Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control has opened multiple shelter sites to take in animals displaced by the fires. You can make a cash donation to the Los Angeles County Animal Care Foundation’s Noah’s Legacy Fund to support the department’s disaster relief efforts. Donations will be used to fund food, shelter and medical care for dogs, cats, horses and other domesticated animals sheltered during a disaster.
Support the Salvation Army Ventura Corps wildfire relief fund: The Salvation Army Ventura Corps is accepting cash donations to support wildfire relief efforts. The organization will use funds raised to provide food, shelter and other personal necessities victims and first responders in impacted areas.
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: This nonprofit is 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.
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.
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.
How to Donate To Help Animals
- The Humane Society of Ventura County is accepting animals evacuating from the Hill and Woolsey fires, and they’re also looking for support. You can donate to the organization here or purchase needed items through their Amazon Wish List here.
- The Los Angeles County Animal Care Foundation is providing animals shelter from the Woolsey and Hill fires. They’re accepting donations through the Noah’s Legacy Fund.
Other Actions You Can Take
- Adopt a pet. The A. County Department of Animal Care and Control is asking people to go to their nearest animal care center and adoptduring this emergency. They note that their Agoura Animal Care Center was evacuated Friday morning, but their other centers remain open.
- Help your neighborhood plan for a future disaster. L.A. County has a five-step Neighborhood Action Kitto help you and your neighbors make a plan. They note that, in major disasters, 70 percent of victims are rescued by their neighbors rather than professional responders.