TAKE ACTION: How you can help North Bay fire victims

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There are many ways to help with the North Bay fire relief efforts. Here are some simple things you can do to make an impact right now, and in the days and weeks to come. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Wildfires have devastated communities in California, killing at least 31 people, forcing evacuations and burning homes to the ground as they scorch tens of thousands of acres.

If you would like to help those affected by the fires, here's what you should keep in mind.

Offer help right now

Facebook has launched its crisis center for several areas affected by the fire. There, you can see the specific requests for help that individuals are asking for and coordinate with them to meet their needs.

Local in the Bay Area: Volunteering and supplies

Here is a list of shelters, organizations, schools, and businesses in the San Francisco Bay area that need volunteers and donations of essential supplies. Essential supplies include clothes, blankets, new pillows, new underwear, packaged prepared food and baby formula.

Elsie Allen High School (599 Bellevue Ave, Santa Rosa) or Cook Middle School (2480 Sebastopol Rd., Santa Rosa), to volunteer call (707) 577-7600 or go in person
Food pantries of Sonoma County, various locations
Food pantries of Napa County, various locations
Food pantries of Yuba County
Veterans Memorial Building and Hall, 1351 Maple Ave. (Santa Rosa)
Petaluma Community Center, 320 N. McDowell Blvd. (Petaluma)
Sonoma County Fairgrounds (open for large- and medium-sized livestock and farm animals), access via Gate 7 on Aston Ave. (Sonoma)
Ramekins Culinary School and Inn, 450 W. Spain St. (Sonoma)
Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds (open to accommodate small livestock and other farm animals, access via Gate 4 on 175 Fairgrounds Dr (Petaluma)
Crosswalk Church (currently at-capacity and in need of aid), 2590 1st St. (Napa)
Napa Valley College Gym, 2277 Napa Vallejo Hwy. (Napa)
Marin shelter: 10 Avenue of the Flags (San Rafael)
Grocery Outlet Bargin Market, 80 E Washington St. (Petaluma)

Volunteers of America, Northern California & Northern Nevada (Sacramento)

San Ramon Police Department

The Community Foundation of Mendocino County - Disaster Fund for Mendocino County

Redwood Empire Food Bank

Donating Blood

Officials at the Blood Centers of the Pacific report the Santa Rosa and Napa centers were temporarily closed due to fires, road closures, and poor air quality. All mobile blood drives in the area were also cancelled. Because of this, they say it's extremely important for donors elsewhere to continue making and keeping their appointments. For immediate updates, follow the Blood Centers of the Pacific on social media.

Bay Area animal charities

Humane Society of Sonoma County, 5345 CA-12. (Santa Rosa)
Humane Society of Napa County, 3265 California Blvd. (Napa)
Yuba-Sutter SPCA, 745 Sutter St. (Yuba)

Local fundraisers

These local organizations are helping the victims of the California wildfires:

Sandwiches for FireFighters

Jewish Community Foundation - North Bay Wildfire Emergency Fund

RYSE Center (Richmond) Collecting Gift Cards 7 Face Masks ONLY

California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance

Bay Area Athletes create Helping Victims of the Napa Fires Fund

Hayward-Castro Valley Moose Lodge, 20835 Rutledge Road in Castro Valley

Cal State East bay donation collections and distribution: Donations will be accepted in SF 318 on the Hayward campus Oct. 16-19 from 11 a.m.- 1 p.m. each day.

Bodega Bay Needs Donations

Fort Point Beer Company

The Napa Deli (Fairfield)

RedWood Credit Union

Sonoma County Resilience Fund

United Way of the Wine Country

Sonoma Valley Fire Support

Redwood Credit Union Fund to help victims of the 2017 North Bay fires

Mezzanine Fire Relief Donation Drop-off Point

Safari West Employee Recovery Fund

Monetary donations can be made through the Napa Valley Community Foundation.

Latino Community Foundation Northern California Wildfires Relief Fund

North Bay Fire Relief

National fundraisers

These national organizations are helping the victims of the California wildfires:

The American Red Cross has set up a wildfire relief page with a donation box for its Disaster Relief Fund at the bottom.
GoFundMe has curated a page of wildfire fundraising campaigns that address different areas of need.

Give cash, not supplies
Most charities prefer monetary donations, especially if you do not live near the affected area. These are more flexible and cause less of a strain on the charity, allowing them to help more, USAID explained.

"Unlike material donations, cash involves no transportation costs, shipping delays, or customs fees. It also enables relief organizations to spend more time providing aid by spending less time managing goods," the organization explained on its website.

If you are able to personally deliver supplies to charities, look for items they specifically request.

Check the charity

Before you donate to a charity, make sure you know where your aid is going. The Center for International Disaster Information recommends checking with a charity monitoring organization like GiveWell, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, or the Better Business Bureau before donating.

Make sure your donation is secure by going through an organization's official website or sending a check in the mail. Charity Navigator says you should never donate over the phone, email or unknown social media pages, as these are easier for scammers to target.

Check back with this page for updates with more ways to help.

Related Topics:
donationscharitiesvolunteerismsocietywildfirefireNorth Bay FiresCalifornia

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