Some Early Ways to Help Victims of the NorCal Fires [UPDATED]

gaetancaron-smokeandfire.jpg

“Smoke and Fire.” Photograph by Gaetan Caron, Mendocino County, Northern California. Used with permission.

I know everyone’s Facebook pages are swirling with info on angel friends driving supplies to shelters, drop-off points for donations, food deliveries, and many more ways to help all these poor people who have lost everything in Northern California from the fires. You are all amazing, way to rally. Look for the helpers!

I wanted to share a few initial ways to help that have crossed my desk, thanks for any support you can show! And please read the note at the bottom of this post for tips about donating clothes and more, thank you!

Our friends at Charles Communications have started this GoFundMe fundraiser that “for now will provide DIRECT relief to evacuees of the communities of west county in Sonoma. Found an organization networked to 10 other shelters who are taking in evacuees. We are identifying a similar charity in Napa, where the devastation has cut communications. The goal is to raise money so we can go and buy supplies for the 10 shelters (sleeping bags, cots, diapers, kids pajamas, nonperishable food, hygienic items). Our team will be driving a load up this Thursday. Please contribute what you can.”

You want to help? Donate? Need realtime info? This detailed page for Sonoma donations, volunteering, evac site needs, and more is AMAZING. There’s a timestamp so you can see when it was last updated.

There are also some drop-off points for clothes, supplies, and more:

-From noon-close now through Friday night (at least), ~THE ALEMBIC~ in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood will be a donation drop point for food, blankets, clothing, medical supplies, pet food (domestic and livestock). Chef Rachel Aronow will take donated items up beginning on Saturday morning. Aronow grew up in the North Bay and sadly the farm where she was raised, in the Fountain Grove area in Santa Rosa, was wiped out by the fires along with about 70 horses. (So so sorry to read this, chef Rachel. The mind reels. Love to you.)

-~RESOLUTE~ wine bar is going to be donating all beverage sales all night this Wednesday October 11th. They will also be accepting canned food (dog/cat food in particular) and toiletries to be delivered up north that following Thursday morning.

-~LIHOLIHO YACHT CLUB~ is accepting donations through Friday at 11am. “We have direct contacts on the ground ready to accept these donations and we will personally deliver them. NEEDED unused, non perishables such as: toiletries, pet food, diapers, blankets, underwear, clothes etc. Chef and crew will also be preparing food and delivering it to those in need, in shelters and wherever requested. PLEASE DROP OFF DONATIONS ANYTIME AFTER 10am—if prior to business hours, ring yellow buzzer—WE ARE HERE! Now is the time for us all to show up!”

-~THE STUD~ in SoMa will be receiving supplies for North Bay today after 5pm and every day until further notice! They are also accepting monetary donations, which will be dispersed to several local funds. (And they are also receiving large luggage for Puerto Rico.) Keep up with their help and needs on Facebook. Here’s what is currently needed: baby food, canned food, diapers (baby and adult), inhalers, toiletries (toothbrush, paste, toilet paper), dog and cat food and litter, other pet supplies (water and food bowls), water and juice, clothes (all ages and sizes), new underwear in package, new pillows in package, and clean blankets.

~MAUNA LOA~, at 3009 Fillmore at Union, will have bins out as of tomorrow 10/11/17 for food and clothing.

-~FORT POINT BEER~ is now a drop-off point: If you are looking to donate supplies to those affected by the North Bay fires, our brewery (644 Old Mason Street) is now acting as a drop-off location. Donations can be made this week through Monday 10/16 from 6am-8pm—our trucks will be making deliveries to the shelters. Our hearts go out to our family, friends and community in the North Bay. Read more on what is needed here.

-In wake of the devastating fires in Northern California, we wanted to share that The Morris will become a drop-off site for supplies this Thursday, 10/12 through Saturday, 10/14 between 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m at 2501 Mariposa St (Mariposa & Hampshire).

-~THE MORRIS~ team will collect supplies from Thursday 10/12 through Saturday 10/14 (from 1pm-4pm) at 2501 Mariposa St. at Hampshire. They will then bring supplies to Fort Point Brewery, who will deliver everything to shelters on Monday October 16th. The items in highest demand include:
— Tents
— Air Mattresses and cots
— Pillows
— Phone Chargers
— Dry and Canned Pet Food (dog, cat, kitten)
— Animal crates and carriers small and large
— Dog Bowls (any bowls for food and water)
— Other pet supplies (litter, bedding, leashes, collars)
— Diapers
— Baby Strollers
— Baby Carries
— Personal Protection Equipment (masks, latex gloves, etc.)
— Boxes
— Duct Tape

In the East Bay, ~BAY GRAPE~ in Oakland is accepting donations. Please look at their Facebook page for the latest updates/needs/tips and more.

Just got this from my friend at Extrafood.org: Spent the past 2 days working at Marin’s main emergency shelter, incredible. A small city sprang up in no time, housed 500 people Monday night. More shelters are springing up and ExtraFood.org is getting food to them.

Key messages to people wanting to help: - People fleeing the fires are welcome at the Marin Veterans’ Auditorium shelter, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. Small pets are welcome.
- Marin Humane Society, 415-883-4621, is providing emergency boarding for animals.
- Don’t bring food or other donations to the Marin Veterans’ Auditorium.
- Sign up to volunteer at volunteer.cvnl.org - If you work in a Marin business that has food to donate, contact ExtraFood.org
- People wanting to post they are safe can do so at safeandwell.org
- Watch for updates at marincounty.org

I read this post by Abby Leutholdt on Facebook and found it to be full of excellent and helpful information, please look this over before you donate clothes and other items.

“After the devastating Valley and Rocky fires, I spent weeks working in the evacuation centers. Mainly, I assisted in sorting and separating the mountain of donated clothes and supplies. I was overwhelmed by the people I met and their stories but also in the amazing generosity of strangers.

But…in the coming days and weeks, as you consider helping and begin to sort through things you’d like to donate, stop and truly look at what you are giving. If it is new or ‘lightly used,’ please give it to those who need it.

If it is torn, missing buttons, stained, tattered or smells like cat pee (yes, I sorted through several bags), please do not add to the misery of this disaster by offloading your less than desirable belongings to those in need.

In a matter of minutes, many people lost everything today. Everything.

Clothes, shoes, warm coats, sports equipment (yes, cleats matter to kids who just want normal), school supplies, tools, gift cards, hotel vouchers are all needed. If you donate shoes, tie the laces or rubber band them together. If you give a belt or accessories, put them in a ziplock. Label the bags with a Sharpie. Separate your donations into smaller bags or boxes, label the boxes. (Toddler clothes and shoes, sizes 2T-4T, Women’s Work Clothes, sizes 8/10/12, Men’s Casual Clothes, sizes XL and Pants sizes 36-38, etc.). This will help more than you know.

In the coming weeks and months, people will need your help. These fires have stolen homes, cars, belongings, places of employment (which means that people have lost jobs too), hopes, dreams, memories. Now is the time to open up our hearts, homes, and wallets.

And, as someone who lost everything once in a fire, sometimes it’s the little things that really matter. A phone call, a shared meal, unexpected bags of groceries or even a memory album. Go through pictures, put together photo albums for your friends. You don’t have to give it to them yet, but when you do, it can bring so much peace.

Once donation pages are announced, consider keeping the funds local. Look to the local churches, charities, and credit unions that will be setting up and managing funds.

Volunteer. Serve meals, help sort donations, read to kids. If you are qualified, help people with legal and financial advice. Go to fundraisers, bid on auction items, support our communities by being an active member. It’s so easy to be wrapped up in our own worries, fears, and lives. Now is the time to help others. Please help in any way you can.”

Thank you, Abby, and thank you everyone for all your support, concern, time, and helping hands and open hearts. Keep it coming. You are all incredible.