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Is there anything we can do to aid the fire relief effort, even up here in Northern California?

Is there anything we can do to aid the fire relief effort,
even up here in Northern California?

Who we asked: California Office of Emergency Service, the
American Red Cross,, and Harry Marnell, moderator of
“Southern California Fire Departments’ Communications & Web
Sites” at

Locations for donations to California Disaster Relief,
California Office of Emergency Service press release, Oct. 31,

Those wishing to donate goods are asked to leave their contact
information with the California Office of Emergency Services
Donation Hotline at (916) 845-8855 between 7:00 a.m. and 4:00

Monetary contributions to the charity of one’s choice are
encouraged. Below is a list of some of the charities – including
the phone number and Web address – that have a specific disaster
assistance function. These charities have confirmed that they are
assisting in the disaster relief effort and are accepting monetary

Adventist Community Services


American Radio Relay League



America’s Second Harvest



Catholic Charities USA



Christian Disaster Response



Church World Service



Humane Society of the United States



International Aid



Lutheran Disaster Response



Mennonite Disaster Services



National Emergency Response Team



National Organization for Victim Assistance



Northwest Medical Teams International



The Phoenix Society For Burn Survivors



REACT International



The Salvation Army



United Jewish Communities


United Methodist Committee On Relief



Volunteers of America



World Vision



“Very close to home for you all in the Bay Area: so far one
firefighter has died fighting the Southern California fires: Steven
L. Rucker, from the Novato Fire Protection District. Rucker and
several of his coworkers from NFPD were part of a “Strike Team”
from Marin County that was sent south to help out. Several other
Novato firefighters were also injured when the fire suddenly turned
on them. Their Web site, with links for donations and for
equally-meaningful messages of support, is”

-Harry Marnell, via e-mail


The American Red Cross is spearheading relief efforts in
Southern California and is in need of funds. If you wish to donate,
you can earmark your donation for Southern California, a particular
county or a particular city. If you are sending a check, please be
sure to put “Account #616” on your check, the account code for
Southern California Fire Relief. In the Bay Area, checks may be
sent to:

American Red Cross

Bay Area Chapter

85 Second Street

San Francisco, CA 94105.

To donate to the Red Cross by phone, call 1-800-HELP-NOW and
tell the Red Cross representative you want your donation credited
to Account #616, or you may designate a specific city or county. To
donate online, go to

A word of warning.

Attorney General Bill Lockyer spoke to KRON4 reporters last
week, cautioning charity donors to be wary of scam artists trying
to profit from the widespread tragedy.

“Unfortunately, we know from experience that scam artists always
crawl out from under the rocks to try and turn tragedy into profit.
Consumers should take care to ensure that when they make charitable
donations, their money will help the fires’ victims and not simply
line the pockets of scoundrels.”

The attorney general offered the following tips to people
pledging donations to help disaster relief efforts:

= Closely review the various disaster relief appeals, rather
than responding to the first solicitation received.

= Check to see if the charity is registered in California with
the Attorney General’s Registry of Charitable Trusts. Registration
does not guarantee legitimacy, but it is an important indicator. A
searchable database is available online at

= Don’t give in to high-pressure solicitation tactics. Be wary
of appeals that are long on emotion but short on details about how
the charity will help disaster victims.

= Ask what percentage of donations will be used for charitable
activities that help fire victims, and how much will fund
administrative and fund-raising costs. State law requires you are
provided with an answer. Be wary of fund-raisers who balk at the

= Find out what the charity intends to do with any excess
contributions remaining after victims’ needs are addressed.

= Do not give cash. Make checks out to the charitable
organization, not the solicitor.


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