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How to help Northern California wildfire victims (update)

Big-ticket fundraisers aim to drive money toward relief

Structures Destroyed By California Wine Country Wildfires Rises To 8400 Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Update, October 27:

A spate of high-profile fundraisers have joined up with grassroots relief drives in an effort to drive funds toward the displaced.

  • On November 9, AT&T Park will host the Band Together Bay Area benefit concert featuring acts like G-Eazy, Metallica, Raphael Saadiq, Rancid, Dead & Company (comprised of former Grateful Dead members), and Dave Matthews. Tickets start at $69 and the organizers promise 100 percent of sales will go towards fire relief.
  • This year, the regular PinoFest wine tasting November 18 will benefit fire victims, with tickets going for $125.
  • And the next semi-annual Wild Kitchen foraged food dinner at the Ferry Building November 10 and 11 (also $125/head) has promised 100 percent of its profits to the United Way’s Northern California Wildfire Relief & Recovery Fund.
  • Similarly, some 100 restaurateurs will come together for the “Chefsgiving” event starting November 13, where each will offer special menu items the sale of which will benefit fire relief. Tickets for a dinner gala at the Ferry Building on November 19 start at $125 and, again, all proceeds are sworn to fire victims.
  • The Sonoma Springs Brewing Company will release special bottles of Sottile Red ale on November 11, sales of which benefit the Sonoma Volunteer Firefighters Association. According to a company press release the red ale is actually something they do every year on the anniversary of a fire at the Sonoma Springs building, but this year the timing is just particularly helpful.
  • And the SF Fights Fire organization provides food to relief shelters and aid workers. Those looking for a non-monetary way to help can volunteer to cook, deliver, and organize.
  • For those looking to perhaps donate in smaller increments, the Bay Club gym says that it’s matching donations to the Red Cross for wildfire assistance up to $50,000, made through this link here.
  • And for more directly focused action, the North Bay Indo-American Association, a cultural community group for Indian-Americans based in Santa Rosa, has an ongoing pledge drive to raise money for fire relief, with 46 days left to raise an additional $18,000 to bail out 25 affected families.

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Update, October 16:

  • A second public Google Doc includes volunteer opportunities for those who want to help fire victims.
  • A restaurant group dubbed SF Fights Fire needs expe
  • Oakland’s Golden Squirrel Pub (5940 College Avenue) will hold a charity raffle for fire victims Wednesday, October 18. Tickets start at $5. You don’t need to be there to win, but the pub will also have a donation drive going at the same location.
  • Car-sharing site Turo now has a program where those displaced by fires and without personal transit can access Turo cars for free. “If North Bay fire evacuees are in need of a vehicle during this hard time please email disasterrelief@turo.com,” spokesperson Christin Di Scipio tells Curbed SF.
  • Those who wish to make cash donations (still the recommended method of assistance) may also contribute to the United Way Bay Area and United Way Wine Country, which spokesperson Tami Kelly says have combined efforts. Enter the phrase “wildfire” in the comments section of the donation page.

***

Update, October 13:

Here’s an open Google Doc listing 50 locales in 18 Northern California cities (and counting) presently accepting donations for fire victims. Know a local business doing a donation drive that’s not on doc? Go ahead and add it.

Since this is an open document, anyone can edit it, so it’s best to call a location and check that the information beforehand.

Also note that it’s wisest to find the donation site nearest your own home or workplace. While the notion of heading toward drop off centers close to the fires themselves seems compelling, it’s best to leave roads open for firefighters.

***

Update, October 12:

Despite days of tireless and courageous work, fire crews appear to have made little headway containing most of the conflagration. As of Thursday morning, the LA Times reported 23 people confirmed dead, all of Calistoga evacuated, and some 3,500 buildings consumed by flames across several counties.

With that in mind, here are more ways that those in unaffected regions can send immediate aid to fire victims. Note again that monetary payments are the most efficient way to help, but several locations are accepting material goods as well.

  • GoFundMe now has a page aggregating the many fire relief funds now accepting donations on behalf of displaced Californians.
  • Eater SF notes that the Sonoma County Resilience Fund, the Napa Valley Community Foundation, and the Community Foundation of Mendocino County are all accepting donations.
  • A spokesperson for Sports Basement tells Curbed SF, “All Sports Basement stores will be collecting donations that will be delivered to shelters in need. People can bring in donations or purchase a donation item at 40 percent off (basically cost).” The chain has two SF locations and one in Berkeley. Spokesperson Erendira Garcia says the Santa Rosa location remains open as well.
  • The travel site HipCamp is trying to connect evacuees who cannot return to their homes with people who have available space to host them at ranches and rural properties, bed and breakfasts, and even RVs. Anyone who wants to be added to the list can register here.
  • 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. To ad your Airbnb to the offerings, click here.
  • Since San Franciscans and East Bay residents should avoid tying up roads and potentially driving into danger by heading to any of the North Bay donation centers listed below, the following San Francisco businesses are also serving as drop-off points for supplies:
  • Mauna Loa, 3009 Fillmore (note: Mauna Loa will also host a fire relief fundraiser October 21 and 22.)
  • Tupelo, 1337 Grant
  • Hara Club, 875 Geary St (note: The Hara Club will hold a supply drive on Thursday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.)
  • Taverna Aventine, 582 Washington
  • The Dubliner, 328 West Portal Avenue
  • The Alembic, 1725 Haight
  • Liholiho Yacht Club, 871 Sutter
  • William Sonoma, 3250 Van Ness (through October 13)
  • Fort Point Beer Company, 644 Old Mason
  • Clare Redlick, a spokesperson for some of the contributing businesses, says that the most needed goods are non-perishable foods, pet food, packaged underwear, socks, shoes, phone chargers, water, cots, blankets, air mattresses and/or yoga mats (they make decent beds in lieu of anything else), baby bottles and wipes, diapers (both for newborns and adults), and face masks.

***

While firefighting efforts continue, the the LA Times reports that many evacuees may not yet returned to their homes. Even before the fires are out, those lucky enough not to be affected may wonder how to contribute to relief efforts. Here are a few suggestions:

Multiple Wildfires Destroy Homes, Threaten California Wine Country Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
  • According to United States Agency for International Development (USAID), it’s preferable to make cash donations in lieu of delivered goods. But for those who can’t, Sonoma Valley High School (20000 Broadway, Sonoma) and Ramekins Culinary School and Inn (450 W. Spain Street, Sonoma) are accepting donations for Sonoma County.
  • In Yuba County, drop-off donations of water, food, and diapers can be left at the Yuba-Sutter Fairgrounds Evacuation Center (442 Franklin Avenue, Yuba City).
  • In Santa Rosa, bring donations to the Veterans Memorial Building and Hall (1351 Maple Avenue).
  • In Petaluma, bring supplies to the Petaluma Community Center (320 N. McDowell Boulevard) or the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds (175 Fairgrounds Drive).
  • In Napa, the Napa Valley College Gym (2277 Napa Vallejo Highway).
  • Airbnb has a disaster relief program through which hosts can volunteer to house displaced families or emergency workers called from other regions on short notice.