Photo: Getty Images.
Calabasas officials, as well as Mayor Fred Gaines, held a press conference on Sunday morning to answer questions about how residents can best help those affected by the California wildfires. They said they encourage locals to donate cash and goods to the nonprofit organizations working directly with the fire victims.
Officials also added that one way to avoid scams while donating is to make sure that you only donate to first responders and reputable relief & animal aid organizations.
"During a natural disaster with constant images of destruction on television and social media, public reaction is to want to help, and we are so grateful for that support," said sheriff's Chief Maria Gutierrez, also the director of the Los Angeles County Emergency Operations Center. "The easiest and most effective way to get support to those who need it most is to donate to organizations offering direct assistance."
Below are a few local and national organizations that could use your help to heal and rebuild after the destructive California fires:
The Red Cross needs residents interested in volunteering, as well as monetary donations.
Donations can be made at www.redcross.org, or call (800) RED-CROSS (733-2767).
If you're a resident that wants to volunteer locally, call a local agency at (866) 548-8226 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The United Way has a Southern California specific fund for families affected by fires.
"For low-income individuals and families, a wildfire can mean the difference between staying housed and becoming homeless. Affected families need support to rebuild their lives, and we are proud to help give them a lifeline in this critical time," Elise Buik, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Los Angeles said.
Where to donate: unitedwayla.org or (213) 808-6220.
The Los Angeles County Animal Care Foundation is in need of food, shelter, and medical care for hurt animals including dogs, cats, and horses. And if you're able to foster an animal, county officials say they desperately need help freeing up the shelters.
Find more information and donate at https://lacountyanimals.org.
The Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation assists in fire and life safety training for both adults and children.
Donations to the foundation can be sent to 42104 23rd St West Lancaster, CA 93536, or www.lacfdf.org.
If you can't donate money, officials say the most important thing you can do to help is to stay clear of the fire-affected areas until first responders have confirmed them safe.