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Over a ten-month period, Northern California experienced a wave of devastating fires. The fires affected multiple counties, strained resources, flattened homes and businesses, forced tens of thousands to evacuate, and caused at least 50 people to lose their lives.
Although there were many fires, the largest ones requiring the biggest response were the Tubbs Fire in Santa Rosa and Napa fires of October 2017, and the Carr and Mendocino Fires of July and August 2018.
During those major fires, our neighbors were in need of our help. And The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services jumped into action, deploying multiple teams to provide meals and more at multiple vital locations where people were evacuated and where first responders were working. The Salvation Army responded with food, emotional and spiritual care, clothing, hygiene items, and gift cards to local retail stores. We provided not only immediate relief, but cared for people who were entering repopulated areas as fires were becoming controlled.
And even after the official “response phase” ended, we didn't leave. The Salvation Army was a part of each of these communities prior to the fires—and will remain so into the future with recovery plans tailored to each community.
In all, we served over 200,000 people with initial relief. We provided . . .
When the initial crisis ends, and the TV crews leave—The Salvation Army doesn’t.
In fact, we believe that this is when important work begins. We are committed to being there for the people of Sonoma, Napa and Shasta Counties as they slowly put their lives back together. We have built our Long-Term Recovery Assistance Program to provide assistance to survivors of the wildfires and help them rebuild their lives. The program is designed to help those without other sources of assistance, and often times we are able to help provide things that no other agency can. We also supplement existing support from other community programs. Our aim is to help meet the holistic needs of an individual or family.
During the initial relief phase of the fires, we provided many thousands of meals and over $220,000 in assistance for essential items. Since that time, as we have shifted our focus to long-term needs, we have already provided a great deal more to those who were affected. We continually re-asses the needs of the community, and we will continue to meet with fire victims and evaluate how we can help.
In Napa and Santa Rosa, over the course of three years, we will be using funds raised to provide these services. In Redding, we are currently offering our Early Recovery Program which will last for at least six months. All of our long-term efforts include case workers who are able to meet face to face with survivors and tailor services to their specific needs.
Assistance comes in many forms.
We are always available for emotional and spiritual support. But we know that tangible support is vital to those who have lost so much, which is why we help with a variety of items, including:
We strive to be the organization who will reach out and help, when others can’t.
For decades, The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services have been there for people around the world in every major disaster. We remain committed to helping the people of Sonoma and Napa Counties, to help restore the lives of individuals and families, and to help them move forward with a renewed sense of hope and purpose.
As the fires burned, thousands of people in Northern California and beyond saw the need and gave generously. Here is a just a sampling of what they said:
"I feel blessed with whatever I have and wish to help others who have lost everything.” - Gave $1,000
"Something is better than nothing.” - Gave $5
"I'm a retired fire captain and I understand the needs when a family loses their home.” - Gave $500
"The Lord NEVER abandons us. He is with us, strengthening, consoling, leading us on, carrying us if need be.” - Gave $20
"It’s the least we can do for those who lost so much in the horrendous fires. Our hearts go out to all the victims of the fires.” - Gave $400
Although we help thousands of survivors each year, The Salvation Army does much more than help people in times of disaster. We maintain Community Centers throughout our region, providing family services, food, shelter, rehabilitation, career development, youth programs, and much more. It is because of generous donors like you that we are able to keep serving those who need us.
If you would like to support The Salvation Army, make an online gift now. Or, call us at 888-390-2769 to discuss the type of gift that is right for you. Thank you!