Wildfires are raging in several counties in southern California, and as a result, hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to leave their homes, without any idea when they might be able to return (if at all).Â We’re all desperate to help, and right now, our hands may feel pretty tied as we wait for the fires to run their course and be put out as quickly as emergency services are able to address them.
In the meantime, there are three major ways you can help wildfire victims now.
The United Way of Ventura County, American Red Cross of Ventura County, and the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services have created the Thomas Fire Fund. Text UWVC to 41444 to make a cash donation, call 805-485-6288, or go online toÂ United Way of Ventura County’s website.
You can also donate to the Salvation Army or Red Cross. The American Red Cross of Ventura County has set up three shelters in the area and are accepting donations. You can text REDCROSS to 90999, click here , or call 1-800 RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to donate money.
To donate food and water,Â The Salvation Army of Ventura CountyÂ is also accepting donations.
YouCaring is an crowd-funding platform. They have a landing pageÂ that lists campaigns for wildfire relief for individual families, firefighters, and communities, so you can read about exactly who you’re helping. (Warning: This may trigger tears.)
A lot of pets have been taken in, either because they were left behind or ran away after being scared by the smoke and flames. The Humane Society of Ventura CountyÂ is accepting donations of all kinds to help with animal care. If you’re a local who hasn’t been affected and wishes to help, you can drop off any of the following needed 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.
You can also donate food and water for volunteers or make a cash donationÂ on HSVC’s website. Another option is contributing toÂ Noah’s Legacy Fund, which provides supplies, training, and equipment to first responders charged with rescuing animals from areas stricken by natural disaster. Antelope Valley FairgroundsÂ (in conjunction with LA County Animal) is giving shelter to all kinds of animalsâfrom house pets to exotic creatures who’ve been put out of their habitatsâand areÂ accepting food, water, and cash donations.