The destruction from the North Bay wildfires is unimaginable, but the community has come together to persevere. We’ve heard about countless acts of heroism, and we owe a great debt to our firefighters and first responders, who have been working tirelessly to salvage what’s left. If you haven’t contributed already, now’s the time to show your support. Donations and volunteer efforts always surge immediately after a crisis, but ongoing efforts for the weeks and months following are critical to recovery.
The word from relief organizations in the area is that monetary donations are most helpful at this stage. But if giving cash isn’t in your budget, there are still other ways to pitch in. From volunteering to buying raffle tickets to eating out in support of the cause, here are 25 ways to help.
If you’d like to support the North Bay fire-relief efforts monetarily, here are a few organizations to consider: American Red Cross; Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund; Sonoma County Resilience Fund; Disaster Fund for Mendocino County; and the Northern California Fire Fund.
• Donate to the United Ways’ Northern California Wildfire Relief and Recovery Fund, a joint fund between United Way Bay Area and United Way of the Wine Country that assists residents and community agencies across Sonoma, Napa, Solano, Lake and Mendocino counties. (Enter WILDFIRE in the donate comment section or text "WILDFIRE” to 40403 to make a pledge.) One hundred percent of monetary gifts will go to relief and recovery efforts.
• If you’d like to support undocumented immigrants who have lost their homes, belongings and livelihoods in the fires, donate to UndocuFund for Fire Relief in Sonoma County.
• The Latino Community Foundation is raising funds to support three local Latino nonprofit organizations: the North Bay Organizing Project in Santa Rosa; La Luz Center in Sonoma; and UpValley Family Centers in Calistoga. These organizations all work to support the families and farmworker communities who are the backbone of wine country’s industry, and they are coordinating regional resources for immediate and long-term needs.
• Rebuild Wine Country is looking ahead to long-term wine country recovery. Backed by Habitat for Humanity, this fund will use donations to begin the process of rebuilding homes that have been lost, prioritizing those who need them most, including elderly individuals and farm workers.
• CaliforniaVolunteers, an organization established by the Office of the Governor, has additional details on how you can give and where you can volunteer. The site also explains how to responsibly donate goods if money and time are not the best options for you.
• GoFundMe also set up a page aggregating the many fire-relief funds.
Lending a hand can be just as helpful as writing a check, and the North Bay will be looking for people to assist for months to come.
• If you’re interested in working in a shelter in Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino or Lake counties, sign up to become a volunteer with the American Red Cross.
• The Volunteer Center of Sonoma County lists several volunteer options on its website, most of which you can sign up for online. A lot of current volunteer work involves sorting and organizing the thousands of donations collected over the past few weeks.
• Call the Napa County Animal Shelter and Adoption Center (707-253-4382) to see if it still needs volunteers to help clean and organize pens.
• Sign up as a volunteer and help with food distribution or warehouse support at the Redwood Empire Food Bank.
• The Bay Area food community is donating space and supplies to make food for evacuees. Chefs, restaurants and other volunteers can sign up to help prepare and deliver meals to those in need through SF Fights Fire.
Displaced families, firefighters, first responders and even pets might need a place to stay. Consider becoming a temporary or longer-term host through one of these organizations.
• Through Airbnb’s disaster relief program, hosts can volunteer to house displaced families or emergency workers called in from other regions on short notice. Airbnb expanded its disaster response program to include Berkeley and Oakland on top of San Francisco and parts of Marin, Mendocino and North Alameda counties. Evacuees can find shelter through October 30 with participating hosts in those cities.
• Pets need help, too. Rocket Dog Rescue is looking for foster homes and volunteers at its sanctuary in Oakland for animals displaced by the fire. Call 415-756-8188 to see how you can help. You can also check with Wonder Cat Rescue and the SFSPCA to see whether they’re seeking homes (temporary or long-term) to foster animals.
GIVE IN OTHER WAYS
The Bay Area is getting creative by setting up other ways to help. Bars, restaurants and shops are all getting involved.
• Sonoma County Recovery will help connect you with ways to give or ways to volunteer. If you prefer to donate items rather than money, you can provide a list of things you can supply and they’ll match you with donation centers or families in need.
• Sonoma-based Reeve Wines has set up a raffle, and 100 percent of the proceeds will go toward helping fire victims. Prizes include a vacation package to stay at Reeve Wines Villa, private chef dinners and a cocktail class. Tickets range from $25 for one ticket to $500 for 50 tickets. Funds raised will be distributed evenly among the Redwood Credit Union Fund, Redwood Empire Food Bank and a Healdsburg organization called Corazon. The drawing will be held on Facebook Live at 11 a.m. PST on November 1.
• Local artists and designers have donated some of their works to the cause, and some seriously cool items are up for grabs. Shop the California Fire Help sale here. One hundred percent of sales will go to the Redwood Credit Union North Bay Fire Relief Fund.
• For the next couple of months, the brewery and arcade Brewcade will donate $1 from each Can of the Week to fire-relief efforts. Start planning your weekly outing now.
• Gear up for ChefsGiving (November 13 to 19), a weeklong fund-raising event hosted by hospitality groups including the Golden Gate Restaurant Association. Restaurants, delis and bakeries will offer special menus, ticketed events and discounts (à la Restaurant Week) and will donate $100 per guest or item sold to the relief efforts.