2020 Wildfire Resources: How to Give & Get Support
In times of great emergency, Californians stick together. We’ll always be available to support our communities in whatever way we can. We know now that monetary donations are always preferable for non-profits like the Red Cross, which is why we’re putting our energy into generating as much as we can on their behalf. You can help by donating on their website or using your Alexa (just say “Hey Alexa, make a donation to the American Red Cross”.)
We've compiled some of the best resources to give and get help for those displaced by the wildfires. While this list will be updated as we get more information, it is by no means exhaustive. Feel free to comment your own recommendations below!
Air Quality & COVID Safety
The best way to stay safe from the smoke right now is to stay indoors when you can. When you do need to go outside and you are not near other people, it's best to wear an N95 mask. But if you're near other people, (like at your local Sports Basement) it's best to wear a cloth or disposable mask on top of that. The vent on an N95 mask does not protect against transmission of COVID. We recommend layering a cloth or disposable mask over your N95 mask for complete protection.
You can see what the air quality near you is like on PurpleAir. The air quality index (AQI) is based on a scale from 1-500. The higher the number, the more polluted the air is. While different parts of the Bay are affected differently, we recommend staying indoors as much as possible to minimize exposure to the smoke.
Where to Donate Financially
The number one request from most organizations and agencies is financial assistance. If you're able to, we highly suggest making monetary donations to your local or regional agencies & organizations like the ones below.
Where to Volunteer
If you're at low-risk for COVID and are able to volunteer your time, we highly recommend reaching out to these organizations:
Where to Find Support
These are really tough times for everyone in the Bay Area as news of the fires and the heavy smoke can cause a lot of anxiety & stress. Please don't hesitate to reach out to someone you know or call a hotline for help especially if you're feeling stressed or panicked.
- Santa Cruz County Shelter & Hotel Information
- Second Harvest - Santa Cruz Food Bank
- Napa County Local Assistance Center (Food, Health, Housing & more)
- Find your local Red Cross chapter
- Disaster Assistance from DisasterAssitance.gov application also available in Spanish
- Mental Health Services & Hotlines
- Find an Open Shelter via RedCross
While staying informed is important, it can also lead to more stress if you're obsessively checking news and social media too often. Try to limit your news checks to protect your mental health and keep your stress levels down. We recommend checking these sources (sparingly) for the most up-to-date information:
- California Fires Map - SF Chronicle
- Pre-Evacuation Checklist
- CAL FIRE Ready for Wildfire Prep Information
- CAL FIRE Fire Containment Updates
- Air Quality Map