It was late December 4th when the first of the Southern California wildfires sparked, and since then, over 158,000 acres have been burned and as many as 200,000 people have been displaced. If you’re like us, and you’re wondering how you can help the victims of this recent and ongoing natural disaster, HelloGiggles has you covered with the following guide.
While these tips may sound simple, any form of contribution can make a difference — no matter how small. It’s also important to note that these recommendations not only help us humans, with there being suggestions on evacuation shelters for both small and large animals.
Since it is unclear when the fires will stop, donating to non-profits can help immensely. However, it’s important that you know which organizations are legitimate. Already, the Ventura County district attorney warned the public about fake online charities and illegal price gouging (or raising prices after a state emergency is declared). That’s why it’s important to do as much research as you can.
Below, we have information on non-profits that are worth donating to, crowdfunding campaigns you should contribute to, and tips on how you can offer others shelter.
Donate and contribute to crowdfunding campaigns.
Those who are interested in helping can donate to the Thomas Fire Fund, organized by the United Way of Ventura County, the American Red Cross of Ventura County, and the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services. To contribute, text UWVC to 41444, call 805-485-6288, or go to the Thomas Fire Fund website.
To donate to The Red Cross’s many evacuation centers, you can make a contribution by texting REDCROSS to 90999 or make an offering on the Red Cross website. The Salvation Army is also requesting donations, which can be made on their website or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY.
First responders who are in the process of rescuing animals can also benefit from online donations to the Noah Legacy Fund. In addition, the Humane Society of Ventura County is in need of animal food. For this non-profit, head to their website to make donations.
For contributions to home repairs, check out Catholic Charities’ fund. Locals can also donate clothing and toys to the organization.
Clothing, baby food, furniture, women’s sanitary products, and non-perishable food can be sent to Ventura Strong. Child-focused organization Baby2Baby has started a relief registry on Amazon and is looking for supplies to help the babies and children affected by the California wildfire.
If you have any unused clothing, sealed water bottles, or non-perishable food worth offering, the Sherman Oaks East Valley Adult Center is accepting donations at 5056 Van Nuys Boulevard in Sherman Oaks, California.
There is also the Santa Barbara-based Direct Relief, which is offering emergency health kits and supplies. Be sure to direct the contribution to the “Southern California Wildfires” fund on the District Relief website.
Healthy online grocer Thrive Market has also launched a fundraiser to assist food banks serving families displaced by the wildfires.
To offer shelter to those who have been affected by the fires, you can open your home for free on Airbnb.
Animals are also wildfire victims, and there are ways you can help them. When it comes to your pets, be sure to have your leash handy as well as any food, medication, and water. Stay aware of how stressed your pet is, and do your best to keep them calm. For a list of evacuation shelters for animals, both large and small, head to this HelloGiggles article.
Currently, the American Red Cross is accepting applications for volunteers. To help out, simply apply on their website.
Firefighters and displaced victims can eat prepared meals, thanks to L.A. Kitchen. To volunteer for this non-profit, check out their Facebook page for shift times. Red Cross is another great organization looking for volunteers with many openings listed on their social media accounts.
Horses are also in need of help. The Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club need assistance feeding horses and cleaning stables with feed and barn supply requested. Interested in helping out? Contact the Polo Club’s Volunteer Coordinator, Shannon McGraw, at 805-455-2400.