None of us were prepared for this. So often we hear of terrible things on the news, but we disassociate – say oh that’s awful, and then continue our daily lives. But when it’s your own community, it feels like time stands still. Nervously watching the news or constantly refreshing social media to see if you have a home to return to.
I am fortunate enough to still have a home – but I have to remember that if it wasn’t for the bravery of firefighters, my neighborhood in Santa Rosa very well could’ve been next. We all have a story of where we were and where we went; we all know someone who has lost everything. Not only was this devastating for the individuals who lost their homes, but this disrupted the entire community. However, the Sonoma County Community stepped up to support and love one another like family, it was beautiful to watch.
So the question echos: what can we do now? Here are some ways we can continue to help those who have lost everything and the community as a whole.
There are hundreds of individual GoFundMe campaigns and other ways to donate money, but the best I’ve found is the Redwood Credit Union North Bay Fire Relief Fund. Redwood Credit Union is local to Sonoma County, and they are making sure 100% of the donations are given to victims in Sonoma, Napa, Lake and Mendocino counties. Many other donation options take a portion of the money – American Red Cross takes 25% and GoFundMe takes 7.9%.
To support California fire fighters and their families injured or otherwise affected, donate to the California Fire Foundation.
Another group that has been affected and isn’t getting much attention are the agricultural workers. To donate to the farm workers who were affected, donate to the Sonoma County Grape Growers Foundation.
Buy Local Products
There are several local businesses donating a portion of sales to fire victims. Russian River Brewing Company is launching an entire Sonoma Pride campaign to raise money for victims, Iron Horse Vineyards is donating $5 from every bottle of their limited release sparking rosé Gratitude ($65) to the Redwood Empire Food Bank. Hella Baked Cookies is donating all proceeds from their deliveries through 10/31.
Check with your favorite local business to see if they are donating. Sonoma Magazine has a great list of wineries supporting the fire relief.
Enjoy Charitable Art
Many local artists are creating pieces for charity. Local artist Mikayla Butchart has created the ROSE-ilience graphic that is available for purchase in the form of an enamel pin, tote bag and a t-shirt on her etsy store. All proceeds will be donated to fire relief. See a full list of charitable art events and benefits from the Press Democrat.
Practice Self Care
Even if you didn’t lose your home, you can still be emotionally affected by this disaster. Make sure to take care of yourself and your loved ones through this recovery process. Blue Door Yoga & Wellness in Penngrove is offering select free classes throughout the month to help the community heal. Check with your community to see if there are any local social or emotional events to heal as a community.
Another important thing to remember is the victims of this terrible disaster will still need help in the months to come. The recovery process is very long, and they will need support throughout the entire process. Just because the fire is out doesn’t mean it’s over – we have just begun the real work.