11780 San Pablo Ave., El Cerrito CA 94530 510-231-8686 
eUpdate - November 12, 2018
Tips for helping fire victims 
Here are some ways we can make a difference
Once again, thousands of our California neighbors are victims of devastating wildfires, causing death and destruction.  Many of us are looking for ways to help. 

As of today, the Camp Fire in Butte County is the most destructive fire in the state's history. The Woolsey Fire in Ventura and Los Angeles counties is also devastating. 

I've collected some information below on ways to help.  It's nice to know that even small donations or acts of kindness might make a difference.

Sadly, as we know, fraudulent and unethical groups can pop-up after disasters claiming to help victims but preying on the misfortune of others. It's important to work with legitimate efforts. I encourage you to do a little research before sending money, and include tips on doing this. 

I think the links below are a good starting place. We'll learn more about the needs of our neighbors with time. In general, those on the fire front lines are saying cash donations will have the most impact (even small amounts). They are also strongly advising the public to stay away from the fire areas, even if your intent is to donate supplies. 

I hope you'll join me in expressing profound thanks to the First Responders, who are bravely fighting to save lives and property in brutal conditions. This includes numerous firefighters from Contra Costa County who have traveled to join this effort.

And also in sending our deep condolences and compassion to all fire victims and their loved ones. It's hard to imagine what they're going through. 

Links to recommended charity organizations 

Click here to see a list compiled by the The New York Times. 

SF Gate has several recommendations. Click here for general suggestions. 

Here is a recent SFGate article on legitimate organizations collecting cash, which will be used for the greatest needs. (You may need to scroll down for the articles.) 

Time Magazine has also published a good list of ways to help. 

How to find reliable charitable organizations 

It's important to identify the most ethical ways to help. Fortunately there are online tools that help us do this. 

Charity Navigator, rates and evaluates charities on their financial health, accountability, transparency. It has information  for helping those affected by the California fires. Includes online tool. 

Guidestar,  gathers and disseminates information about nonprofits in easy to understand language. Online tool.

Wise Giving Alliance - Better Business Bureau, helps donors make informed giving decisions and promotes high standards of conduct among organizations that solicit contributions from the public. Online tool.

I'm proud to live in a region that reaches out to those in need, time and time again. 

Thanks to all. 
John Gioia
Supervisor, District One 
Contra Costa County 
11780 San Pablo Avenue, Suite D 
El Cerrito, CA  94530 
510-231-8686 Phone