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California Wildfire Relief: How You Can Help 

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By Kaeli Renae

There’s something particularly eerie about seeing the land I grew up on, California’s Central Coast, ablaze with orange plumes as the usually fresh coastal air is blanketed in billowing smoke. 

On August 16th, 2020, amidst a global pandemic, statewide protests, a national recession and an impending election, a record-breaking heat wave and freak dry lightning storms erupted into 12,000 lightning strikes, igniting 600 wildfires all across California. Over 1.4 million acres have been scorched and more than 120,000 people evacuated – in just one week. 

Rising from the ashes is not new to Californians, but this time, we’re up against some of the worst fires that our state has ever seen. 

See the perimeters of more than 100 years of California wildfires recorded by Cal Fire and the U.S. Geological Survey.

Perhaps you’ve had the pleasure of enjoying a coastal drive down Highway One, visiting one of California’s state parks to hang with our towering ancient redwood trees, or eating fruits, nuts and vegetables grown and harvested in our fertile soil ~ California’s land gives in so many ways, consider giving back. 

Want to help but don’t know where to start? Whether you want to contribute money, donate items or share this info, a little goes a long way. Below are a few great ways to help. 

In the words of the great American activist and community organizer Grace Lee Boggs – “The only way to survive is by taking care of one another”.

Thank you to the firefighters, first responders, community organizers, volunteers and donors who are coming together to take care of each other during these wild times. 



CA Fire Foundation SAVE Program

Front line firefighters give $250 gift cards to victims across the state.


Santa Cruz Fire Response Fund

Donations go to organizations and non-profits in Santa Cruz that are directly assisting evacuees and the community.


American Red Cross

American Red Cross is providing volunteers, meals, shelter, assistance, medical care, support to first responders, comfort kits and more.


Monterey County Community Resilience Fund

Donations go to organizations directly helping emergency assistance for the River Fire.

Big Basin + Santa Cruz Redwoods Recovery Funds by Sempervirens Fund 

Help immediate recovery of California’s oldest state park & SC redwood reforestation.


Latino Community Foundation Wildfire Fund

Donations go to Latino-supporting organizations in Northern California.


World Central Kitchen

The WCK provides individually-packaged, fresh  meals to evacuees and firefighters.


North Valley Community Foundation Wildfire Fund

Donations support evacuees + animals in Northern California.


PUENTE Emergency Fire Relief Fund for South Coast Families

PUENTE is helping provide vouchers for hotels and providing evacuation centers for victims of the CZU August Lightning Complex Fire.



Find the central hub for many GoFundMe California Wildfire Relief fundraisers, which are verified by the Gofundme team.


Rebuild the Condor Sanctuary 

Lost to the Dolan fire, the site has been working for two decades to help preserve condors and release captive condors into the wild.

Provide n95 masks for farm workers

Many agricultural businesses are not providing n95 masks to farm workers, who are working tirelessly in the triple-degree heat and smoke. Local organizers are bringing masks for farmworkers and school supplies for their children who are just beginning distant learning. 

Venmo: @flowerinspanish | follow on Instagram for updates:


The Napa Valley Community Foundation

The North Valley Community Foundation


*Monetary donations generally preferred due to COVID-19*

Central Coast dropoff locations: 

Santa Cruz ~ 1082 Emeline avenue

8am – 8pm

Check out their Instagram from updates:


Monterey ~ Seaside highschool

10am – 6pm

Check out the instagram for updates and more:


Watsonville ~ 114 Walker Street

8am – 8pm

* Local animal shelters are in need of pet food, carriers and more – research specific needs by shelter.*


Research places near you, here are a few in the Bay / Central Coast:

Volunteer for the Red Cross 

Thousands of volunteers are needed.

Santa Cruz Volunteer Resource Center


Volunteer at a local shelter or food bank

South Santa Cruz County


SF-Marin Food Bank


Second Harvest Food Bank (Santa Cruz)


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