Relief in Sight

The holidays are a perfect time to give to our communities. And as the North Bay recovers from devastating October 2017 fires, there’s no better time to give back. Here are a three fire relief funds with a proven impact on those who need relief the most. All donations are tax deductible.


At press time, this relief fund had raised more than $11 million, a wonderful testament to the sense of community in the North Bay. Created in a partnership between the RCU Community Fund, Inc, Senator Mike McGuire, and the Press Democrat, the fund guarantees that 100 percent of your tax-deductible donations will go directly to support those affected. When you donate, you can choose to support any of the four counties affected. Make donations at any of RCU’s 17 North Bay and San Francisco locations, or mail checks payable to RCU Community Fund with “2017 North Bay Fire Relief” in the memo to P.O. Box 6104, Santa Rosa, 95406.

Donate online at


An estimated 28,000 undocumented immigrants live and work in Sonoma County. Unlike other victims of the fires, undocumented immigrants do not qualify for FEMA assistance. Launched by a coalition of immigrant service providers and advocates, including the Graton Day Labor Center, the UndocuFund for Fire Relief provides direct assistance to undocumented victims of the Northern California fires. One hundred percent of all donations will go to victim support and provide assistance to pay for such basics as rent, temporary housing, vehicle repairs, educational materials, and groceries, among other needs.

Checks can be mailed to UndocuFund for Fire Relief c/o GCIR. P.O. Box 1100, Sebastopol, 95473-1100.

Donate online at


Established by grassroots community-based organizations under the Another World Is Possible umbrella, resources from this fund will be provided to victims of the North Bay fires, especially those suffering losses not covered by insurance or traditional relief services, and to support initiatives that build just, healthy, and resilient communities that prepare for future catastrophes. Disbursement of funds is directed by representatives from Another World Is Possible, with immediate focus on relief funds for those fire victims most in need of help. Over the longer term, funds will be made available for initiatives

focused on disaster relief and preparedness. As of press time, the fund had already raised over $50,000 for fire victims. Send checks payable to CAFF with “recovery fund” in the memo to CAFF, Attn: Fire Recovery Fund. P.O. Box 363, Davis, 95617.

Donate online at

The Numbers
Within one week of the fire, the number of meals prepared for evacuees and first responders by volunteer chefs from Backyard and other local restaurants using the kitchen at the Forestville Methodist Church. The food was then driven across the county by volunteers who delivered it to those in need.

Supporting Local Business as a Path to Recovery

By Evan Wiig

By my third round of phoning the same local farms to ask for produce donations to help feed thousands of North Bay fire evacuees, something felt wrong. Fires still raging, impromptu kitchens were popping up throughout Sonoma County, and they had called on groups like The Farmers Guild to help gather emergency ingredients.

The problem was—I knew these farmers wouldn’t turn me down.

Most small businesses operate on slim margins. And with Santa Rosa’s two main farmers’ markets out of commission—one damaged and in the evacuation zone (Santa Rosa Original Certified) and the other transformed into an evacuation center at Santa Rosa’s Veterans Memorial Building—it wasn’t business as usual for our farmers, even those spared by the inferno. Most reported sales cut by half. Meanwhile, folks like me keep asking for their hard-won harvest with little to give in return. And most farms have donated so without a moment’s hesitation.

But as we recover as a community from the fire, the need to share the burden of donations has became painfully apparent. Farm workers deserve pay, tractors need gas, and lots of small operations are only a few markets away from going into the red. So just remember: alongside fighting fires and feeding the hungry, patronizing our local farms and businesses is part of the recovery effort. Why not join forces and help them feed those in need? We’re in this together.

Support your farms and businesses.

Evan Wiig is the director of membership and communications at The Farmers Guild/Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF)


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