Fire Relief Efforts: A Roundup

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A volunteer in Calistoga sorts through donated shoes as part of the Valley Fire relief effort. (April Dembosky/KQED)

Cindy Lawler spent Sunday evening handing out donated items to fire evacuees who were in for a long night, staying in their cars at a Wal-Mart parking lot in Clearlake.

Lawler, the pastor of Clearlake Community United Methodist Church, is one of hundreds of people who have spent the past couple days collecting and distributing items for residents who have fled their homes due to the devastating, fast-moving Valley Fire.

“We took coats and jackets and sweatsuits,” Lawler said, noting that she found around 200 residents there who planned to sleep in their vehicles. “I went through about 80 coats last night.”

She said she’s coordinating with the Salvation Army to ensure donations are distributed as needed.

Meanwhile, at an evacuation center that's been set up at the Napa County Fairgrounds in Calistoga, it took about 50 volunteers to sort through a mountain of boxes and trash bags filled with donated clothing. But not all of the garments will make it into the hands of impacted residents.


“It’s been drizzling a little bit in Calistoga, and a lot of the clothing that was donated got rained on,” KQED reporter April Dembosky explained by phone as she stood just outside the medical tent at the Calistoga evacuation center, staffed by Red Cross volunteers and staff from a local clinic. Once clothing gets wet, volunteers told her, it’s considered a health hazard because it can get moldy -- and that means it’s got to be thrown away.

That’s part of the reason Red Cross volunteers emphasized that for anyone wanting to lend support, “money is the most useful donation.”

At the same time, a number of businesses and nonprofit organizations that are coordinating with the core relief efforts continue to accept blankets, non-perishable food items, pet supplies and other goods.

Brian Jaymot, manager at Brocco's Old Barn in Sonoma, said customers have been calling his feedstore and pet store throughout the day to make pet supply donations. He's planning to deliver about 100 bales of donated hay tomorrow, which relief volunteers told him was a more urgent need than the abundance of cat food and dog food that was dropped off.

Below is a list of some resources for those wishing to contribute to the relief effort, either with cash or in-kind donations. Capital Public Radio has provided another list, including for victims of the Butte Fire.

Anyone wishing to lend assistance should exercise caution when sending monetary donations online -- reports of scams have already surfaced in the wake of the blaze.

Monetary Donations

  •  The Redwood Credit Union has teamed up with The Press Democrat to set up a Lake County Fire Victims Fund to aid the relief efforts and assist individuals and families. Visit the credit union's website for more information.
  •         KCRA and the Red Cross are partnering for a California Wildfire Relief Telethon beginning at 4:30 a.m. on Tuesday. Donations will go to communities affected by recent and current wildfires in the region, with a goal of raising more than $500,000 to assist those affected by the Butte and Valley fires.  Phones will go live just before 4:30 a.m. and remain open until 7 p.m.
  •          The Mendo-Lake Credit Union is accepting financial donations on behalf of North Coast Opportunities Inc. to assist with fire recovery efforts. More information can be found here.

In-Kind Donations

  •         Donations of blankets, personal hygiene items, canned or packaged food and pet food can be brought to the Clearlake Community United Methodist Church at 14521 Pearl Ave., Clearlake, from Tuesday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  •         A list of donation centers and needs is being continuously updated at

Supplies for Pets and Livestock

  •          The Santa Rosa Veterinary Hospital is accepting donations for pets that have been evacuated, including food, bedding, crates, leashes and collars. Dropoffs can be made Monday or Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  •          A Facebook page has been created to help people who have lost or found pets in the aftermath of the fire.
  •         Brocco's Old Barn, a feed store and pet store in Sonoma, is accepting donations by phone from customers who purchase needed supplies for evacuees' pets and livestock. Hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Businesses and Others Supporting Relief Efforts

A number of businesses have also stepped up to help relief efforts. Here are a few.

Finally, here is a link to the Safe and Well Listings operated by the American Red Cross, where people can search for loved ones they haven't heard from or register themselves as safe and well.

If you know of additional relief efforts, post them in the comments below.