The California Wildfire Victims Need Donations — Here Are 6 Ways You Can Help

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The wildfires in Redding, California, have threatened the homes of at least 38,000 people — all of whom have been ordered to leave. Some people now know everything they own has been lost to the flames, or worse. Disaster response officials and charities in the region not only have to keep trying to contain the ires, but they also need to take care of the displaced. Donations for the North California wildfire victims are needed, and there's a lot that you can do.

For the most part, monetary donations are the most helpful. Charities are providing food and shelter to hundreds of people, and other funds have been set up to help the area residents rebuild.

That said, there are also drives in the area and even in neighboring states set up to help deliver the vital essentials like water, baby formula, and pet food.

As the fire continues to burn, these donations will grow even more vital. Already some 89,000 acres have burned and the fire is just 5 percent contained. It has crossed rivers, spread past bulldozed areas aimed at containing it, all while temperatures exceed 100 degrees. For victims, the help of many — particularly through donations — will be vital to making it through.

1) Find A Local Drive Near You — Or Organize One

There are local donation drives that you can look for if you want to donate something like water, baby food, etc. If there's not one in your area, consider organizing one.

According to a Reno group, here's what's needed:

- First aid items

- Masks

- Personal hygiene items

- Towels, wash cloths

- Clothing (very gently used /clean)

- Pillows/blankets (clean)

- Paper plates, cups, plastic utensils

- Garbage bags, Ziploc bags,

- Tylenol, ibuprofen, allergy meds, Tums, Prilosec, infant & child ibuprofen

- Wipes, diapers, baby clothes, baby food, toys

2) Money Can Be Most Helpful

Some charities, like the Salvation Army, maintain that cash is most helpful because it keeps them afloat as they operate evacuation centers. The charity is providing meals at Shasta Community College. You can donate here.

3) Local GoFundMe Campaigns

It doesn't have to be a national charity that you donate to, even though that's a great choice. One other option is to give to a local fundraiser, and several have been set up on online giving sites like GoFundMe. The largest was set up by Tri Counties Bank, which started off the fund with a $25,000 donation that it is now asking be matched.

You can also donate directly to the bank — all the money will go to local service providers in the area, directly helping people survive by providing them with what they need right now.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families affected, and our gratitude goes out to the brave firefighters and first responders who are battling to contain these devastating fires," Richard Smith, president and CEO of Tri Counties Bank, told The Chico Enterprise-Record.

4) Text To Donate

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If you're looking for another place to give, consider the United Way. They're providing relief in the area and making it extremely easy to give. Text CARRFIRE to 91999 to learn your options for giving. Or give online here.

5) Don't Forget The Pets

One wildfire victim, who nearly lost her horses when her stable and riding school went up in another California fire, is making sure that the animals in and around Redding are also being taken care of.

"Horses, dogs, cats, goats, chickens, whatever, they all need to eat," Barbara Hallford told KGO news. She's reaching out online and in person to gather goods for animals affected by the flame.

6) Long-Term Help Will Matter, Too

It's important to note that some of the help needs to be geared toward long-term recovery and rebuilding. For those who have lost everything, they'll need help working to replace their homes and belongings. As the Shasta Regional Community Foundation's fund notes, it will be offering relief in two phases.

Short-term, immediate relief and long-term: "funds for long-term relief will be distributed towards rebuilding and recovery efforts as identified by local collaborative effort."

From home, no one of us can stop the fire. But by donating, you can support those who have been affected by the devastating blaze.