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California Wildfire Relief Fund 2018

by GlobalGiving's Disaster Recovery Network
California Wildfire Relief Fund 2018
California Wildfire Relief Fund 2018
California Wildfire Relief Fund 2018
California Wildfire Relief Fund 2018
California Wildfire Relief Fund 2018
California Wildfire Relief Fund 2018
Photo courtesy of Guitars in the Classroom
Photo courtesy of Guitars in the Classroom

While the worldwide pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have drastically impacted the entire GlobalGiving community, we’ve been hard at work listening to the needs of our nonprofit partners and donors. The GlobalGiving Disaster Recovery Network recognizes that for communities already hard-hit by previous disasters and fighting to recover from damaged homes, lost wages, and ongoing trauma, the effects of the COVID-19 virus lockdown have been especially difficult. 

We reached out to our trusted nonprofit partners in California who were attuned to the voices in their community long before the 2018 wildfires and are continuing to respond to the current crisis. From Chico, Northern California, to San Diego, these incredible organizations are meeting the needs of their communities, filling the gaps in state funding, and preparing Californians for the upcoming 2020 wildfire season.

Your generous support of the 2018 Wildfire Relief Fund is fueling the following community-led responses to the economic, health, and emotional impacts of COVID-19:

Sheltering the Unhoused:

  • The town of Chico, California received thousands of survivors from the nearby Camp Fire with open arms, and nonprofits such as Safe Space Winter Shelter have helped house those who lost their homes in the fire. When California issued their shelter-in-place order, Safe Space developed a plan to house 145 medically vulnerable community members experiencing homelessness in local motel rooms. Many of these guests have been identified as having a high risk of developing complications from COVID-19. “They have been managing medical conditions like diabetes, chronic lung disease, heart disease, kidney disease, and cancer while living unsheltered, and it is clear to us just how critical shelter is in a person’s ability to address medical needs.” Beyond simply having access to a bed, a bathroom, and a shower, guests receive full case management and support to shelter-in-place. 
  • United Way of Northern California has expanded its 2-1-1 operations in response to the spike in calls from residents in search of food, utility and rent assistance, and COVID-19 sample tests. By targeting support to displaced workers, senior citizens, and those facing homelessness, this United Way team is committed to addressing the needs of disadvantaged communities as California enters phase three of re-opening. 

Local News in Native Languages 

  • Mixteco/Indigena Community Organizing Project (MICOP) launched a COVID-19 task force to provide rapid response information to Spanish monolingual, Mixteco, and Zapoteco community members at a time when the usual high-touch, door-to-door strategies are unavailable. The organization is working to ensure that Indigenous language-speaking communities have access to stable internet connectivity to keep them informed on the latest public health updates in Santa Barbara, one of the counties with the highest infection rates in the state. 

Fighting Financial Instability 

  • The Ventura Community Foundation launched the Ventura County Rapid Response Fund for COVID-19 to bolster the efforts of nonprofit organizations addressing the needs of individuals and families with food and housing support, childcare, wage replacement, and mental health services through a partnership with Give an Hour. The Fund is also filling in the gaps in federal and state funds by supporting small businesses through this crisis so they will be able to re-open as key providers of employment, connection, and development in their local communities. 
  • The North Valley Community Foundation has been working nonstop for residents in Butte County still recovering from the Camp Fire in 2018. Their nonprofit network has prioritized COVID-19 testing through local labs, food, shelter, children’s services, and personal protective equipment for first responders. Looking ahead, they are gearing up to ensure that students in rural areas will have access to internet connectivity and other resources they need for virtual education in the fall. 
  • Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans operates in San Diego, a city with one of the country’s largest resettled refugee communities. Recognizing the immediate impact on a community where many work in the restaurant, tourism, and small business sectors, PANA activated a response to provide small, one-time grants for resettled individuals to cover rent, utilities, childcare, food, and other emergency needs. 

Emotional Wellness for All

  • During such draining and stressful times, Give an Hour has adapted its programs to reach essential workers, undocumented families, and all Southern California residents who are looking for mental health resources through its phone and web-based support lines, offering guidance and healing six days a week. Through English and Spanish resources, Give an Hour even hosted a wonderful Emotional Wellness session with the GlobalGiving team that left us feeling seen, and refreshed to continue directing relief efforts to communities impacted by COVID-19 across the world. 

In this era of uncertainty, we are grateful to GlobalGiving donors like you who believe in the power of local, community-led responses to disasters. Thank you for standing with those affected by the frequent California wildfires. We’ll be back with future updates on how your contribution is building state-wide resilience. 

With Gratitude,

Andrea + the GlobalGiving Team 

Photo courtesy of Jake's Diapers
Photo courtesy of Jake's Diapers
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Photo from MICOP
Photo from MICOP

Though California has already experienced another bout of fires since the 2018 blazes devastated the town of Paradise and areas of Southern California, thank you for not forgetting about the families that are still fighting to regain their livelihoods and rebuild their communities. 

Here are some of the ways our partners are continuing to help their neighbors in need as thousands of families are still waiting to receive compensation and support for lost homes and damaged property: 

  • Warmth in the cold winter months: It gets cold in areas of Northern California, especially in higher altitudes like Paradise where families are still living in substandard housing. Thanks to your support and the efforts by the Throwing Starfish Foundation team, approximately 200 families have experienced some reprieve from the cold after receiving winter weather kits containing coats, socks, hot hands, and sleeping bags.
  • Employment for adults with developmental disabilities: California Vocations’ mission is to provide residential and vocational support to developmentally disabled adults. During the Paradise fire, the organization lost most of its client homes and vehicles. The organization has been using insurance payments to purchase residential buildings, but with the rise in real estate prices after the fire, clients have to be spread across a very large area. Thanks to your donation, California Vocations has been able to replace two vehicles, which will provide its clients with reliable and accessible transportation. This will help individuals experience a stable work environment and regain some normalcy as they transition into a new community and environment, as well as improve their long-term health and quality of life.
  • Mental health services: Many communities in California are suffering from repeat trauma from recurring wildfires, mudslides, and a mass shooting. One GlobalGiving partner, Give an Hour, is creating an Emotional Wellness Collaborative, comprising organizations and agencies that will provide emotional wellness and mental health support to adults and children.
  • Disaster-preparedness for indigenous communities:  With destructive fires becoming increasingly common in California, community preparedness is more important than ever. Indigenous communities are often overlooked during disasters, especially because of language barriers and their remote location. As a result, they are not made aware of safety and evacuation information as fires unfold, nor are they able to reliably access relief services. Mixteco/Indigena Community Organizing Project (MICOP) is building on its expertise and experience serving these communities during previous wildfires and proactively developing its organizational readiness to support indigenous communities.  Specifically, MICOP is supporting indigenous immigrants and farmworkers in rural areas of Southern California through language appropriate advocacy and preparedness campaigns.

It’s incredibly challenging to know that while rebuilding initiatives are ongoing, more fires will likely affect these areas again. Thank you for your commitment to strengthening disaster readiness and community preparedness. We will continue to keep you updated about our partner’s outstanding efforts and your role in building stronger communities.

With gratitude,

Sandrina + the GlobalGiving Team

Photo from Throwing Starfish
Photo from Throwing Starfish
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Nine months ago, two of the costliest wildfires in the history of the United States subsumed California in clouds of smoke. The Camp Fire in Northern California, the deadliest in the state’s history, began just hours after the Woolsey Fire in Ventura County. Both fires devastated communities in their paths, claimed numerous lives and caused a combined $20 billion in damages.

 

Through the support of thousands of donors like you, GlobalGiving was able to respond to the sudden crises and allocate emergency donations to local community-led organizations mobilizing relief efforts on the ground. Now in the longer-term phase of disaster recovery, the California Wildfire Relief Fund continues to support local organizations as they assist thousands of displaced individuals and provide resources for much-needed trauma healing.

 

The following recovery and disaster preparedness initiatives are currently underway thanks to your generous donation:

 

  • The United Way of Northern California is pushing forward with case management and relocation resources for those still struggling to find housing, many of whom had to resort to living off the grid in campers and RV parks after losing their homes. Financial support for families who lost everything in the fire will cover related costs such as first month’s rent, security deposit, and utilities. 

 

To date, more than 8,000 individuals and families have been directly impacted by these efforts. 

 

  • The collaborative Butte Strong Fund was launched in May by the North Valley Community Foundation as the organization turns its focus to long-term recovery in communities affected by the Camp Fire. Since its inception, funds have been allocated to meet a variety of needs such as fee reduction for those seeking a permit to rebuild homes on their properties, temporary workforce housing for the hundreds of workers in Butte working on debris removal, and bolstering  case management efforts to provide long-term holistic support to the many individuals and families who still need direct assistance. 

 

  • The Humane Society of Ventura County is now better prepared to conduct its animal rescue operations thanks to the funding of a second 5-horse trailer. After the Woolsey Fire in Southern California, the need for more equipment and resources used in rescuing animals from spreading wildfires became alarmingly apparent. In the event of future disaster events, the HSVC says it is prepared to offer evacuation services and sanctuary for animals in harm’s way. 

 

After large-scale disasters such as the California Wildfires in 2018, the road to recovery is a long one. GlobalGiving will, in the coming months, continue to share stories of how your donation is helping communities to stabilize and heal. 

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Photo from North Valley Community Foundation
Photo from North Valley Community Foundation

On Nov. 8 of last year, two of the deadliest and most destructive wildfires in California history ignited on same the day.

The Woolsey Fire burned nearly 150 square miles of land in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, destroying 400 homes and another 1200 buildings, causing 295,000 residents to evacuate, and claiming three lives over 13 days.

The Camp Fire, which began in northern California's Butte County, would go on to become the costliest natural disaster in the world in 2018. The blaze scorched 248 square miles, leading to the destruction of more than 18,000 buildings—nearly three-quarters of them homes—and 85 fatalities until it was fully contained on Nov. 25.

The harrowing scenes of wildfires overtaking entire communities in a matter of hours spurred an outpouring of support, including from GlobalGivers like you. Our community came together in the days and weeks after the fires broke out, and more than 3,800 donors raised $1.3 million to support our vetted nonprofit partners assisting families affected by the Woolsey and Camp wildfires. Here's a look at the relief and recovery efforts your donation has supported:

  • The North Valley Community Foundation supported relief work being performed at area evacuation centers in the immediate aftermath of the Camp Fire. Through partnerships with local organizations and government agencies, they were able to fund housing assistance, gift cards, gas cards, child care programs, and food and clothing distribution centers for residents affected by the wildfires.  
  • In southern California, the Ventura County Community Foundation worked with local partners on a wide range of relief and recovery efforts in response to the Woolsey Fire, including purchasing a new emergency response vehicle for first responders, repairing a damaged community radio station, covering expenses for fire-damaged child and adult day care facilities, providing direct cash assistance for affected residents, and feeding and housing evacuees.
  • The United Way of Northern California provided more than 6,000 individuals and families affected by the Camp Fire with emergency cash relief. They also organized a back-to-school shopping event for 130 students impacted by the wildfire, and are currently working with families who lost their home in the fire and are still struggling to find housing.
  • The Humane Society of Ventura County's team was able to rescue more than 100 horses and other farm animals from ranches in southern California during the Woolsey Fire.
  • Working in communities affected by both the Camp and Woolsey wildfires, Jake's Diapers distributed modern, reusable cloth diapers to families in need.
  • IsraAID's psychosocial support professionals worked with service providers and first responders in both northern and southern California to ensure that their emotional needs were met. They also organized self-care workshops and processing sessions with police, firefighters, and municipality workers to create a safe space for open communication and coping with the emotional trauma of the fires.

Your generosity supported all of this vital relief work, and we thank you for making the smart choice to donate cash to support community-led relief and recovery efforts after these devastating wildfires. We’ll continue to keep you updated in the coming months about the ongoing work of our partners assisting wildfire survivors.

 

With gratitude,
Will + the GlobalGiving Team

Photo from IsraAID
Photo from IsraAID
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