Stepping up amid tragedy

Jesse Gomez

The devastating wildfires in Northern California have been raging since Sunday, Oct. 8 and fire crews have been bravely fighting what is now known as the most destructive fire in the area to date — 42 people are confirmed dead with 68 still missing and close to 200,000 acres burned.

Due to the amount of smoke, air quality has created unhealthy living conditions not only for the communities fighting the fires but the surrounding counties as well. The air quality index in Napa County at one point reached a staggering 486 — the unhealthy threshhold starts as 201.

Thousands of homes and businesses have been destroyed thus far and as the air quality continues to threaten many more, evacuations have remained steady in the thousands.

With such devastation around us, it’s great to see both neighbors and strangers spring into action to lend a hand. Many Northern Californians accepted the call by welcoming families displaced by evacuations into their own homes. Others have donated food, clothes, time and money.

Earlier this week Los Medanos College lent a hand to Contra Costa College and College of Alameda by opening our gym doors so the schools’ student athletes could make up games canceled due to poor air quality.

There’s something everyone can do to help. Donating your time to an organization and assisting those affected by the fires could go a long way to help bring normalcy back to lives of those impacted by the fires. Here is a list of places that are accepting donations for fire victims in need.

  • Redwood Empire Food Bank
  • The United Ways’ Northern California Wildfire Relief and Recovery Fund.
  • 1-800-RED-CROSS or Texting REDCROSS to 90999

If donating money isn’t your style and you wish to help in person many agencies are still accepting people to donate their time on-site at a relief center. Call the Sonoma hotline (707-573-3399) and see where you can lend your services. Air respirators are also a welcome donation.