Helping Out: Donations, volunteers still needed for fire relief efforts
By the time you read this, the Kincade Fire could be out.
And then again, possibly not.
To get through whatever Mother Nature might yet have in store, many local organizations are depending on donations of money and supplies, and for community members to step up and volunteer in a variety of ways. Here are several organizations that are helping out with the current crises, while already making plans for whatever the next one emergency turns out to be.
THE RED CROSS
The Red Cross operates a number of evacuation shelters and fire relief efforts throughout Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino counties. Those interested in volunteering at local evacuation shelters or fire relief sites operated by The Red Cross should register at redcross.org/volunteer. After registration, they will be contacted by The Red Cross and assigned to a site.
To make a donation, visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS, or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. You can also send a check to American Red Cross, 5297 Aero Dr., Santa Rosa, CA 95403. The check should be made out to “American Red Cross” with “Kincade fire” noted on the check.
THE VOLUNTEER CENTER OF SONOMA COUNTY
THE CENTER FOR VOLUNTEER & NONPROFIT LEADERSHIP (CVNL)
The Volunteer Center of Sonoma County and the Center for Volunteer & Nonprofit Leadership (CVNL) jointly operate a number of Emergency Volunteer Centers and coordinate help with emergency evacuations. The organizations are currently operating Emergency Volunteer Centers in Napa and Marin counties. In Sonoma County, they operate para-transit services to help move evacuees to safety.
Those interested in volunteering should sign up through the Volunteer Portal at sonoma.cvnl.org/disaster-response. Needs are currently being assessed for the Kincade fire. Those interested in volunteering at one of the evacuation shelters in Petaluma should email email@example.com, call 529-1201, or express interest in person at the Kenilworth Teen Center at 150 Fairgrounds Drive.
THE REDWOOD EMPIRE FOOD BANK (REFB)
The Redwood Empire Food Bank (REFB) was under mandatory evacuation, but at press time were expecting to have returned to their regular food distribution schedule by midweek. The Food Bank is currently accepting food donations at their main facility at 3990 Brickway Blvd in Santa Rosa. They also have several donation sites throughout Sonoma County the community, including two in Petaluma: Whole Foods (E. Washington Street, 762-9352) and the Redwood Club (719 Southpoint Blvd # A, 778-8788).
In a recent notice from the REFB, the nonprofit stated, “In the coming days, we will be meeting the needs of more than 200,000 of our neighbors. Monetary donations allow us to buy and distribute the type of food most needed.” Donations can be made through the website at REFB.org. If you are interested in volunteering - helping out in the REFB kitchen and with food distribution - send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
SONOMA FAMILY MEAL
Founded by Press Democrat dining editor Heather Irwin, Sonoma Family Meal has served more than 200,000 meals to fire survivors since 2017. The nonprofit is also an emergency disaster response kitchen and is now serving Kincade fire victims and evacuees. Sonoma Family Meal is currently seeking trained chefs and kitchen helpers as well as people who can move food and pickup supplies and produce. Sign up to volunteer at https://www.sonomafamilymeal.org/volunteer/. You can also make a donation at SonomaFamilyMeal.org.
COMMITTEE ON THE SHELTERLESS (COTS)
COTS has been welcoming evacuees to visit their Mary Isaak Center (900 Hopper Street, Petaluma) for showers, laundry, meals and phone charging. All services are free. The nonprofit is currently seeking the following donations for fire evacuees. Towels and wash cloths, shampoo and body wash, bedding and sleeping bags, laundry detergent, toilet paper, N95 masks. To make a donation, contact the COTS front desk at 765-6530 x120.
PETALUMA PEOPLES SERVICES CENTER
Petaluma Peoples Services Center is a collection of human services programs providing support through, for example, counseling, daily hot meals, rides to the doctor, case management, and financial assistance. The nonprofit has been serving Kincade fire victims since the beginning of the emergency. Those interested in making a donation serving Kincade fire victims can do this online at Petalumapeople.org/donate. The organization will make “targeted purchases.” While Petaluma shelters remain open, you can also bring items from the list below to Kenilworth Teen Center, 150 Fairgrounds Drive, right next to the library. Currently needed are: BreatheRight Strips, Dayquil and Nyquil, mints, gum and Chapstick. individually packaged snacks, Aspirin, baby aspirin and Tylenol, adult diapers (extra large and large), Gatorade, juice boxes, drip coffee, laundry detergent, new blankets, new pillows, litter boxes and doggie bags, dog and cat leashes, hand warmers, duct tape, baby oil, new t-shirts, new underwear, new socks and women's tank tops, new towels, ear plugs, bio bags, sharp containers and eye masks. PPSC aks the community to please not bring any items that are not on the above list. Those wishing to volunteer can fill out an online application at Tinyurl.com/PPSC-volunteer.
THE SALVATION ARMY
The Salvation Army has been serving three meals a day at five evacuation centers in Napa, San Rafael and Petaluma. Of all monetary donations made now, 100% will go toward Kincade fire relief efforts as the Salvation Army feeds and cares for evacuees and first responders until the crisis is completely over. Give-do.salvationarmy.org.
COMMUNITY FOUNDATION OF SONOMA COUNTY
The Community Foundation of Sonoma County's ongoing Resilience Fund continues to accept donations to support the mid- and long-term recovery needs of individuals and families, with particular focus on helping individuals impacted by the fires, healing the long-term effects of trauma, and addressing housing solutions within the county. Make a donation at CFS.fcsuite.com/erp/donate.
UNITED WAY OF THE WINE COUNTRY
United Way has opened the Kincade Fire Emergency Relief & Recovery Fund to help in the relief and recovery efforts post fire. Make a donation go to UnitedWayWineCountry.org.
LATINO COMMUNITY FOUNDATION
The Latino Community Foundation has reactivated its NorCal Wildfire Relief Fund in response to the Kincade fire. The fund supports nonprofits that include Corazon Healdsburg and Nuestra Comunidad, which are providing essential sheltering and supportive services to Latino immigrants and farmworkers impacted by the fire. Make a donation at Latino-community-foundation.networkforgood.com.
The UndocuFund for Fire Relief in Sonoma County, managed by Graton Day Labor Center, North Bay Organizing Project, and North Bay Jobs with Justice, is currently raising funds to assist the victims of the Kincade fire. This fund is providing direct funding to undocumented immigrants and their families in Sonoma County to help with fire-related expenses. Make a donation at UnDocuFund.org.
(Much of the information above comes from an online service roundup on SonomaMag.org. Thanks to the staff of Sonoma Magazine)