Using GoFundMe to Help the Kincade Fire Victims


Fundraising campaigns for who have lost their homes and possessions in the Kincade Fire are starting to appear on GoFundMe. While it’s impossible to evaluate each request on its merits, they’re worth considering—just enter “Kincade Fire” in the search field and you’ll find several pages to scroll through. In addition, here are several campaigns by vetted organizations or individuals that address unique aspects of the disaster:

Sonoma Family Meal

Help Sonoma Family Meal feed evacuees, first responders and others in need in Petaluma, Santa Rosa and Healdsburg. Area chefs and other Sonoma Family Meal volunteers have prepared and served more than 200,000 high-quality meals since this nonprofit agency debuted in the aftermath of the 2017 fires. Sonoma Family Meal purchases its produce and meat from local farmers and purveyors, who also suffer from the impact of fire and power outages.

North Bay DSA

North Bay DSA, the local chapter of Democratic Socialists of America, is raising money for fire victims and evacuees who are most likely to “suffer the gap in the traditional aid system,” including migrant and undocumented workers. Funds will help purchase items such as “tents, bedding, food, masks, water, hygiene supplies, batteries (and) transportation needs” and provide direct assistance to those in “precarious housing situations.” North Bay DSA will also work with a regional coalition “to raise awareness about PG&E’s avaricious mismanagement of our infrastructure and their complicity in producing the destruction we are currently seeing.” The group also pledges to turn over any unused donations after six months to UndocuFund, which helps undocumented immigrants in Sonoma with fire-related expenses.

Sarah Stierch

Support the up-to-the-minute,  front-line reporting of freelance journalist Sarah Stierch, whose Twitter feed became an essential resource for Wine Country residents in the 2017 fires and has been supplying a stream of invaluable information during the Kincade Fire. (Fellow journalist Freda Moon, based in Alameda, set up the account on Stierch’s behalf, so that the latter can continue her independent reporting.)

More ways to help:

World Central Kitchen

Donate to World Central Kitchen, feeding masses of evacuees and first responders at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa. You can also volunteer, especially if you have kitchen experience, according to chef Tyler Florence, who’s part of the effort; send him a direct message via Twitter first.

Food Banks

Donate money and canned goods to food banks that supply nonperishable items for emergency shelters, such as the Redwood Empire Food Bank. Drop off food donations (no glass, opened or homemade items) directly at 3990 Brickway Blvd., Santa Rosa, from 8am to 4:30pm weekdays; volunteers can also sing up for a 2-hour warehouse or kitchen shift. San Francisco-Marin Food Bank, which assists more than 80 food pantries in Marin County, is also supporting fire relief efforts; in addition to volunteers and donations of money and nonperishable food, bottled water is particularly needed.

Direct Relief

Direct Relief provides N-95 masks, respiratory and antiviral medicine, oxygen concentrators, personal hygiene kits and other supplies to healthcare agencies, first responders and shelters in California communities affected by wildfire. It also stocks insulin and other temperature-sensitive medications for health care centers whose supplies might be destroyed or degraded during the fires. It accepts financial donations and encourages fundraising through social media.

Sindisa Sanctuary

There are many animal-related organizations seeking volunteers and/or donations. Among them, Sindisa Sanctuary has a GoFundMe campaign to help feed its rescued farm animals and rebuild all the permanent structures destroyed by fire on its 125-acre ranch in Healdsburg.


Jeane Cooper

Travel and features writer Jeanne Cooper fell in love with Marin and the Bay Area as a graduate student at Stanford University. After 20 years as an editor and writer for the Washington Post, Boston Globe and San Francisco Chronicle, she began a freelance career that has taken her from the Austral Islands to Zimbabwe, with many visits to Hawaii in between. Her stories have appeared in numerous national and regional magazines, including Hemispheres, Sunset, San Francisco and Nob Hill Gazette, as well as Marin and Local Getaways. The author of several Frommer’s guidebooks, she now lives on the Big Island, where she’s active in animal rescue. She still enjoys exploring Northern California with her husband and friends.