How to help California fire victims: 11 things you can do for Ventura and L.A. right now

How to help California fire victims: 11 things you can do for Ventura and L.A. right now
[Photo: MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images]

Wildfires are raging across Southern California, burning an area as big as the city of Orlando. As firefighters struggle to contain the blaze, thousands have been forced to evacuate their homes on the outskirts of Los Angeles, fleeing Ventura County and surrounding areas. Many people have lost everything, a loss compounded by the fact that it’s only a few weeks until Christmas.

If you’re looking for ways to help, here are a few organizations working to help the victims of these fires:

  • Crowdfunding Campaigns: Both YouCaring and GoFundMe have created landing pages of verified fundraising efforts.
  • The United Way of Ventura County has teamed up with the American Red Cross of Ventura County, and the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services to create the Thomas Fire Fund. Text UWVC to 41444 to make a cash donation, call 805-485-6288, or via their website.
  • The United Way chapter in Los Angeles has also set up fire relief funds for communities hit by the blazes.
  • The Red Cross, which is operating multiple evacuation centers in L.A. County, is accepting donations through its website or by text. To make a contribution, text REDCROSS to 90999.
  • The Salvation Army is providing food and supplies to evacuees in Ventura County, is also requesting donations, which can be made online or by phone (1-800-SAL-ARMY).
  • The Los Angeles County Animal Care Foundation is accepting donations  online for its Noah Legacy Fund, which distributes supplies and training to first responders who are rescuing animals.
  • Catholic Charities has set up a fund to help with the cost of rebuilding and home repairs, which can be contributed to on the network’s website. If you’re local, they are accepting donations of new clothing and toys that will be given out as Christmas gifts at their Ventura branch.
  • Donate Via Google: The search giant lets you donate to nonprofits aimed at specific causes, including the California fires. You can do this by simply typing “California fire relief” into Google’s search bar. A module will appear with a “Yes, Donate” button. Or learn more about Google’s donation help program here.

If you live in the Los Angeles area, there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer or donate goods:

  • Humane Society of Ventura County is housing animals who escaped from the fires. It’s in need of all sorts of animal food, as well as food and water for volunteers. You can find more information on its Facebook page or you can make a cash donation on HSVC’s website.
  • L.A. Kitchen is preparing meals for firefighters and displaced victims. For shift times, check its Facebook page.
  • The Los Angeles chapter of the Red Cross has volunteer openings on its website and is listing more on its social media accounts.


  • Ventura Strong is collecting donations of clothing, baby food, non-perishable food, and more, as well as cash to help rebuild their community in the wake of the wildfires.
  • The Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club is providing shelter to all horses needing evacuation from the Thomas Fire in Ventura County. Volunteers are needed to help feed, water and clean the stables of the evacuated horses. The club is also requesting feed and barn supply donations.
  • Santa Barbara-based Direct Relief is providing local health-care providers with emergency health kits and supplies. To donate, visit Direct, click “Direct my donation to” and choose “Southern California Wildfires.” 100 percent of funds designated by donors for Southern California wildfire relief will go to that cause.
  • The CCF Wildfire Relief Fund supports intermediate and long-term recovery efforts for major California wildfires.