This morning, I woke up like any other morning, making coffee, and opening up my windows to view the city. As I pulled back the blinds, I came face to face with the power of wild fires. I stood in shock as I saw endless grey smoke covering the hills. I immediately ran upstairs to my rooftop and that is when I saw it... black smoke. Homes were burning to the ground.
Natural disasters such as fires do not see social status or race or politics or religion, they affect everyone. The fires in California have blazed through everything from multi-million dollar homes to low income apartment complexes and they are still burning strong. Many people woke up this morning to everything they owned being burned to the ground. I cannot possibly imagine what that must feel like.
As I stood on my rooftop just watching the fires, I was unsure of where to even begin to do something to help those affected. For now, everything sold in the COH° Shop will go directly to the Thomas Fire Fund in partnership with the United Way of Ventura. You can make any purchase in the shop and 100% of the donations will go to these families, or if you would rather donate directly, please read below for a list of options and ways in which you can give back.
As devastating fires burn throughout the region, several charities have boots on the ground and special programs supporting relief efforts. Here's how you can make a difference:
Donate to those displaced:
The United Way of Ventura County, American Red Cross of Ventura County and the Ventura County Sheriff's Office of Emergency Services have all partnered to create the Thomas Fire Fund. ALL of the proceeds raised go directly to support those displaced by these fires.
Text UWVC to 41444 to make a cash donation to the Thomas Fire Fund. You can make a donation via text messaging or on the United Way of Ventura County's website. Or you can mail a check with "Thomas Fire Fund" in the memo line can be mailed to 702 County Square Drive, Suite 100 Ventura, CA 93003.
Donate water & snacks to those displaced:
The Salvation Army Ventura Corps has set up shop at the Ventura County Fairgrounds and is asking for donations of food and water as it works to help evacuees.
As the charity's other chapters assist in various evacuation centers, Salvation Army is asking for monetary donations to support its work. Those wishing to donate can do so by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY or visiting the organization's website.
Volunteer with the Red Cross:
The Red Cross is accepting applications for volunteers on its website. The Red Cross of Los Angeles will disseminate information about volunteer opportunities on its social media accounts as it determines additional needs for communities impacted by the fires.
Those who wish to make cash donations can do so on redcrossla.org or over the phone by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.
Donate gently used clothing & Christmas gifts for families displaced:
Catholic Charities is accepting donations of gently used clothing as well as new toys and clothing to be given as Christmas gifts to families displaced by the fires. Donations can be dropped off at Catholic Charities' Ventura Community Services Center at 303 N. Ventura Ave. Ventura, CA 93001.
The charity has also established a special fund to help offset the cost of home repairs. Donations can be made to the Catholic Charities website.
Donate cash or supplies to the Humane Society of Ventura County:
As HSVC works to care for the more than 100 animals that it has taken in since the fires began, the organization says it is in need of donations. Alfalfa hay, Timothy hay, cat chow, rabbit food, flashlights, headlamps, lanterns, water troughs, bottled water, fruit, snacks, hoses and power generators can be dropped off at the shelter at 402 Bryant St. in Ojai.
HSVC is also asking for food and water donations to feed volunteers working around the clock.
Those who cannot bring supplies to the shelter can make cash donations on HSVC's website.