Donations help now but volunteering benefits the future


Samantha Dahlberg

General’s Pencils donated some of their products to evacuation centers in northern California.

Samantha Dahlberg, Staff Writer

On Oct. 8, several Northern California wildfires destroyed buildings and forced residents in Napa and Sonoma to evacuate their homes.

The smoke from the fires even drifted to many areas along the California coast.

The burnt smell that came with the smoke from the fires was overwhelming and masks were required.

The general public was not free to drive near areas affected by the wildfires. Some evacuation centers and roads were even being guarded by SWAT teams to keep the media out.

My family and I drove to Petaluma with $1000 worth of supplies to donate to evacuation centers.  We attempted to drop off the donations but got turned down the first three times.

Evacuation storage centers were overflowing with towers of donations.

At the same time, there were not many people at these centers to help accept or sort the donations.

Many people just dropped off supplies and left without talking to anyone. 

Although it is very generous to bring supplies to an evacuation center, the greater need is to have more volunteers at these centers to accept donations, sort those donations, and then determine where those donations can be best used.  

Additionally, many evacuation centers still need volunteer help to provide a stable environment for those who were affected by the fire.

The American Red Cross has taken charge to encourage people to volunteer. On their official website, the organization said, “With hundreds of people reported as missing, it’s critical to help people reconnect with their loved ones. Red Cross volunteers at our shelters are helping people to register on Safe and Well to facilitate reunification.”

The impact of the wildfires will be felt for a long time after the flames are put out.  If one can volunteer to help the community now, it will go a long way for those who have suffered great losses.