How to Help Those Impacted by the Devastating California Storms

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At least 18 people have died in a series of winter storms that have battered California over the last two weeks, with about 5 million people under flood watch on Wednesday, CNN reports, primarily affecting those in Northern and Central California, including Sacramento, the North Bay and Redding.

In addition to the death toll, the powerful storms have caused mudslides, fallen trees, sinkholes, flooded neighborhoods and more damage, leading Brian Ferguson, California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services spokesman, to call the onslaught of storms “one of the deadliest disasters in the history of our state.”

Here are some ways to help those affected by the storms:

1. Donate to GoFundMe

GoFundMe has set up a dedicated page to help Californians in need through verified fundraisers. “The GoFundMe community is coming together to help people who are raising money to rebuild, offset medical expenses, and cover memorial costs,” reads a message on the website. “Donate to verified California storms and flooding fundraisers today to help people rebuild and recover. Our Trust & Safety team will continue to update this page with more fundraisers as they are verified.”

2. Volunteer with California Volunteers

Led by the state’s Chief Service Officer, Josh Fryday, California Volunteers is the state office tasked with engaging Californians in service, volunteering and civic action. The organization is encouraging residents to take a moment to check-in with friends, family and neighbors, as well as check their website for updated volunteer opportunities.

3. Help the Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz County was battered by extreme flooding and is in need of volunteers to provide general services ranging from post event clean-up to staffing phones. Sign up on their website to stay up to date about where volunteers are needed most. You can also donate locally to the Santa Cruz County Disaster Fund that will distribute funds to “support trusted local nonprofit organizations working on the front lines of disaster response, recovery, and rebuilding efforts.” Money donated will also assist local businesses impacted by the floods.

4. Assist a Beach Cleanup with Heal the Ocean

This organization is tasked with keeping beaches and oceans free from trash, and is currently seeking volunteers to help remove styrofoam and debris from the storms in East Beach, Santa Barbara. Check their website for more information.

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