Dramatic images of the fire burning near Ventura
Devastating wildfires are continuing to burn in areas of Southern California — and hundreds of thousands of people are in need of help.
Numerous nonprofits are providing support on the ground for the Thomas Fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, and the several other fires burning in Southern California.
But be on alert: The Ventura County district attorney warned the public on Dec. 6 about people taking advantage of fire victims by creating fake charities online, as well as illegal price gouging.
Here’s how you can support the fire victims and evacuees:
Thomas Fire Fund
The United Way of Ventura County, American Red Cross of Ventura County and the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services have teamed up to create the Thomas Fire Fund.
Checks with “Thomas Fire Fund” in the memo line can be mailed to 702 County Square Drive, Suite 100, Ventura, CA 93003.
GoFundMe has created a centralized hub for dozens of verified campaigns aimed at providing help for those affected by the wildfires.
If you can’t decide which to donate to, there is a Direct Impact Fund listed at the top of the page that supports a number of campaigns connected to the fires.
The Red Cross is accepting applications for volunteers on its website.
YouCaring, an online crowd-funding platform, has created a landing page with all of its campaigns for Southern California wildfire relief.
Humane Society of Ventura County
The Humane Society of Ventura County is in need of donations after taking in hundreds of animals since the fires began on Dec. 4.
“Over the coming months the cost will be phenomenal,” the post said, “and we will need financial donations to pay for the care of animals displaced by the Thomas Fire.”
The organization also set up a registry wishlist on Amazon.com with items needed to care for the diverse group of animals currently in its care.
Salvation Army Ventura Corps
“As of Monday morning, we have an abundance of material donations, and are unable to accept more,” said a Dec. 11 Facebook post.
Santa Barbara-based Direct Relief has responded to the fires with items requested by local health-care providers, including N-95 respiratory masks and emergency health kits full of emergency medicines and supplies.
To donate, visit http://directrelief.org/donate, click “Direct my donation to” and choose “Southern California Wildfires.” Direct Relief says it is committed to ensuring that 100 percent of funds designated by donors for relief of the Southern California wildfires will go to that cause.
Ventura County Community Disaster Relief Fund
The Ventura County Community Disaster Relief Fund, created by the Ventura County Community Foundation, supports organizations providing shelter and long-term housing, legal services, education, healthcare and other immediate and long-term needs of those affected by the Thomas Fire.
CCF Wildfire Relief Fund
The CCF Wildfire Relief Fund supports intermediate and long-term recovery efforts for major California wildfires, as well as preparedness efforts.
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Advice for fire victims
(1) Contact your insurance companies. Most will cover hotel stays, apart from the usual coverage.
(2) Call your credit card companies and have the last 3-6 months of your purchases reimbursed back (get a police report that testifies you are a fire victim).
(3) If you are renting and are a minor, your parents’ home insurance may cover your belongings.
(4) Call your chain retail stores and see what they can offer to fire victims.
The Sacramento Bee contributed to this report.