Northern California Fires: Rising from the Ashes

Northern California Fires: Rising from the Ashes

I share heroic and heart-warming stories from my town of Petaluma, which became ground zero for the fire evacuees of Sonoma County and Santa Rosa (the TUBBS fire), including where help is needed--now that people are leaving the evacuation shelters. And if you haven't already, listen to my previous two episodes about the fires. Lastly, I want to say how proud I am of my town and my county for the outpouring of support for fire evacuees, their lost and found and injured pets, livestock, horses; and I am proud and thankful of the first--and continued responders--the police, and all the firefighters who helped so bravely and heroically.

Listen here (sorry for the poor sound quality! I did not have my mic and headphones):

You can help in many ways, here are the links: 

1. California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance: "On Sunday night thousands of Northern California community members were evacuated from their homes due to expanding wildfires throughout the area. Many people lost their homes, and have a long way to recovery, while they wait for FEMA to help.

"However, the reality is that not everyone gets support from FEMA. Undocumented immigrants without home insurance are often left to fend for themselves, an extremely sad reality. This is why we refuse to see our community members be left behind, especially when it hits close to home.

"Many of the people affected by the fire are immigrant fighters, activist, organizers, educators, and workers who have been courageous throughout the ongoing fight for justice.

"This is why we need your support, we need to ensure that our friends and loved ones have access to drinking water, food, shelter, and access to get to work in order to ensure their basic needs for survival.

"Will you give us your support?"

Website Click on their donate button on the right sidebar.)

2. Mark Thomas: 1) "Mark Thomas, a local artist [with Down syndrome], barely escaped the TUBBS fire on Monday morning October 9th. He was independently living in an apartment [in Santa Rosa] on Hopper, an apartment we learned he has lost to the fire. If you would like to help Mark regain his independence please make a donation, every little bit will help." ~Jessica Thomas [Mark's sister], on the GoFundMe page. 2) "My special needs brother had a miraculous escape from these fires, but has lost his independence in the form of his apartment. As we move forward it is overwhelming to think of all we need to replace for him. Even if you only share this post, I appreciate everyone’s willingness to help and support him. Thank you all!" ~Jessica Thomas, on her Facebook timeline.

How to help Mark: The following gift cards are needed, a Best Buy card to replace Mark's large CD collection; a Michael's card to replenish his lost art supplies; and or a Target card for new clothing and furniture. For more info, message his sister via the GoFundMe page by clicking on the little green envelope icon/button, on the right-hand side next to "Jessica Thomas."

And or you can make a donation to Mark's GoFundMe page, care of his sister, Jessica:

FYI: Mark is a HUGE Warriors fan. I have been in contact with Jessica, Mark's sister. I want to score some Warriors basketball tickets for Mark, and maybe a meet-and-greet with some of the players. Please contact me here [support (at) LisaNolan (dot) com] if you can help, thanks! ~Lisa Nolan

3. The Anova Center for Education: "Our non-profit school for children with autism has been destroyed by fire. Please help us rise from the ashes. The Anova Center for Education, Sonoma County's only nonprofit school for children living with autism was demolished by the wildfires that are ravaging Northern California. Thankfully, none of the school's students were injured in the fire, but the blaze now leaves 120 students ranging from 5 to 22 years old without a school.
"All donations will go toward rebuilding our K-12 classrooms, transition program, occupational therapy equipment, and many other specialized needs of our students. We are more than just a school, we offer an environment where our students can thrive academically, socially, and emotionally.

"In addition to losing our entire campus and all of its contents, we spent two years raising $75,000 for a playground structure that was delivered a few days before the fire and burned to the ground in a box.

"We will rise from the ashes and need your help to rebuild our beloved school. Please donate to our Go Fund Me Phoenix Campaign. All donations are appreciated and thank you for your support. "For more information about Anova, please go to:"

Donate here

Don't have cash to spare? Give a gift card or share on social media!

1. If you have a gift card, consider donating it! The local mothers club is doing a gift card fundraiser, go here https// "We are so blown away with the generosity of those near and far. At this point, we have raised over $10,000 in $25 gift cards for the evacuees and survivors of the Sonoma fires. As you may know, the shelters are beginning to close as individuals and families are placed in temporary housing accommodations. Petaluma People Services is spearheading this and doing an amazing job! Please know, the shelters closing does not mean our work to support and provide assistance to those who still need our help is over. Many are re-starting their lives, with nothing, and our work has just begun!!

"The gift cards are helping victims buy food, clothing and other necessities. We will continue to collect them through October 31st. Starting Monday, 10/16, we will be partnering with Petaluma People Services for distribution. They know the survivors and their needs best. Please continue to donate and support our gift card drive. It takes a village, and what an amazing village we have! With much love, Megan Cusimano, Petaluma Mothers’ Club President."

2. Have an Amazon gift card? Consider using it to buy supplies for the Sonoma Humane Society via their Amazon wish list!  Go here

"Your donation is crucial as the days & weeks of this terrible disaster unfold. Your support will help us care for homeless injured stray animals and provide no-cost burn treatment for fire victims.~ SHC"

3. Share any or all of the above on social media!

Listen to my previous episodes on the fires, part one here, part two here.

Top photo credit: Don McCullough via / CC BY-NC