Updated: Jan 2, 2019
This week, a series of wildfires in Southern California have caused tremendous amounts of damage to properties, the environment, and uprooted tens of thousands of individuals - it's a disaster. It's easy to feel helpless during times like these, but fortunately we are all able to lend assistance -- regardless of where we live.
1- Donate to An Established Fund
Thomas Fire Fund
The United Way of Ventura County, American Red Cross of Ventura County, and the Ventura County Sheriff's Office of Emergency Services have teamed up to create the Thomas Fire Fund. Text UWVC to 41444 to make a cash donation, call 805-485-6288, or go online to United Way of Ventura County's website. Checks with "Thomas Fire Fund" in the memo line can be mailed to 702 County Square Drive, Suite 100 Ventura, CA 93003.
2- Donate to a National Organization
The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army is accepting food and water at the Ventura County Fairgrounds. You can donate cash by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY or visiting the website.
The Red Cross
3- Donate to a Local Charity
The Humane Society of Ventura County
The Humane Society of Ventura County has taken in over 100 animals. Drop off any of the following items at 402 Bryant St. in Ojai: Alfalfa hay, Timothy hay, cat chow, rabbit food, flashlights, headlamps, lanterns, water troughs, bottled water, fruit, snacks, hoses, and power generators. Donate food and water for volunteers, or make a cash donation on HSVC's website.
Los Angeles County Animal Care Foundation
Donate to Noah's Legacy Fund, which provides supplies, training, and equipment to first responders charged with rescuing animals from areas stricken by natural disasters. Mail donations to P.O. Box 100515, Pasadena, CA 91189-0515 or through the LACACF website.
4- Donate to a Verified GoFundMe
Sometimes verifying the legitimacy of GoFundMe campaigns can prove tricky. Fortunately, GoFundMe has verified a number of fundraisers that are accepting donations right now for a variety of causes related to the fires, whether for general relief and reconstruction, or for individual families affected by the fire.
5- Volunteer to Help
The Red Cross often accepts volunteers to help with aid efforts in their communities and regions, so if you're interested in helping with the practical work of helping families and individuals survive the fires and recover from them, you could consider getting more actively involved. If you live in the vicinity of the fires, you can type in your zip code on the Red Cross website and see what volunteer openings are in your area.