November 14, 2018

There are a lot of things we can control during our week, but sometimes, the world has a way of spinning things out of control. This past week, we saw just that as devastating wildfires spread throughout California.

So many in the Golden State have been forced to flee or have lost their lives in the fire. If you’re feeling this loss deeply, but having trouble figuring out how to lean all the way into that compassion, there are plenty of ways that we can stand up and contribute—with our wallets and without.

Here are some resources to lend a helping hand and support the communities and firefighters impacted by the Camp Fire, Hill Fire, and the Woolsey Fire, even if you aren’t living in California:

Support orgs and individuals on the ground

Emergency shelters are opening up for folks around the region, and these facilities need support, too. You can donate to some, like North Valley Community Foundation. GoFundMe has also compiled a list of donation campaigns related to the fires.

Support firefighters and healthcare providers

Donations to support the Los Angeles Fire Department will help provide hydration backpacks for firefighters in Southern California. Firefighters Charitable Foundation is also accepting donations.

Help feed those affected

The Salvation Army Ventura Corps is collecting non-perishable foods for those impacted by the fires as well as general donations.

Open up your home

If you're in the California area, you can join over 1,200 volunteers who have opened up their home (free of charge) to victims and relief workers in the affected counties via Airbnb.

Support schools

Many schools have been physically destroyed in the fires, but in addition, many teachers have been displaced. GoFundMe has compiled a list of campaigns that directly support those looking to rebuild their schools and lives.

Text your donations

You can text BUTTEFIRE to 91999 to support victims monetarily through United Way of Northern California. The organization is accepting applications for folks who need emergency financial assistance, and your money will go towards this fund.

Support animals

If you're in California, organizations like the L.A. County Department of Animal Care and Control are encouraging folks to visit animal care centers and adopt those displaced by the fires. The North Valley Animal Disaster Group is also accepting donations to help care for domestic animals during this tough time.

Share resources with others

Taking the time to tweet or post about the fires can feel frivolous, but by sharing information (like where food pantrys are located, how people can check road statuses, or where people can donate) can help kickstart a ripple effect of information that may save someone's life.

Seek help if it feels overwhelming

It's incredibly difficult to watch people suffer—whether it's your hometown or even if you're hundreds or thousands miles away, watching it unfold on the other side of a TV. Know that your empathy is a strength, not a weakness, and something that helps you relate to the people and world around you. But if it does, however, start to feeling overwhelming, Crisis Text Line offers free, 24/7, confidential support over text messaging at 741741.

Read next: 21 Ways You Flex Your Bravery Every Single Day

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