Three wildfires in California have displaced hundreds of thousands of people and destroyed thousands of homes. So far, 44 people have died.
As of Sunday morning, 117,000 acres had been burned by the fire in the northern part of the state, called the Camp Fire. It has turned into the most destructive in the state’s history and one of the most deadly. Another 98,000 acres have been scorched in Southern California by the Woolsey and Hill fires.
Here’s how you can help.
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.
Nonprofits that are seeking donations
American Red Cross: This nonprofit 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.
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: This organization is on the ground 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 a variety of duties, including caring for displaced animals and, for those who are certified doctors or nurses, offering medical care.
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.
Crowdfunding as a way to help
There 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.
Additionally, 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.
Tags: California, Help, Nonprofits, Wildfire