By Sheri Williams
When the devastating Camp Fire hit Paradise and the surrounding towns in Northern California, firefighters, police and other first responders didn’t hesitate.
Despite having families and homes in the path of the fire, they did their jobs, helping to save thousands of lives and homes and putting themselves in harm’s way.
But the toll has been heavy. More than 100 police and firefighters have lost their homes and everything they own. Three firefighters were injured, and more than 88 people died in the blaze. About 25 people are still missing.
Hundreds of other union workers including teachers, nurses and utility workers were also forced to run for their lives, then return to work to help with recovery efforts.
Many are in shelters, hotels or other temporary housing – with few clear plans for rebuilding their homes and their lives.
“Facing so much destruction, so many deaths, and so many people missing while fighting relentlessly advancing walls of flame and heat … our brother and sister Firefighters and first responders right now are facing nearly unimaginable conditions,” said Brian Rice, President of the California Professional Firefighters (CPF), shortly after the evacuation of Paradise. “And, for many, it means fighting on while they may have lost their own home or perhaps even loved ones or dear friends.”
Union members who would like to help fellow union sisters and brothers affected by the fire can find more information at the website of the California Federation of Labor at: https://calaborfed.org/california-wildfire-relief-funds/.
Details of any programs can also be provided by Greg Larkins, AFL-CIO/ United Way community liaison. He can be reached at 916-208-4734.
Other ways to give include:
California Fire Foundation Relief Fund
As part of the California Fire Foundation’s mission to provide victim assistance, its Supplying Aid to Victims of Emergency (SAVE) program provides emergency short-term financial assistance to fire and natural disaster victims in California year-round, including both firefighters and civilians. The California Fire Foundation has mobilized direct assistance to those who’ve suffered catastrophic losses in the Camp Fire and Woolsey Fire.
SEIU California’s Disaster Relief Fund
Support the families of those devastated by the California wildfires by making a financial donation to the SEIU California Disaster Relief Fund which helps support members in times of need.
CTA Disaster Relief Fund
The Disaster Relief Fund is a separate, special fund just for members of CTA. The fund is endowed to provide financial assistance to CTA members who have experienced significant losses due to disasters in California. Donate electronically above or you can send a check made out to:
CTA Disaster Relief Fund
1705 Murchison Drive
Burlingame, CA 94010
CWA District 9 Disaster Relief Assistance
Your contributions to the CWA District 9 Disaster Wildfire Relief fund will go directly to assist CWA members who have been affected by this disaster. If you prefer, you may send a check made out to CWA District 9 Disaster Wildfire Relief fund to:
CWA Local 9404
Attn: Ginny Raines
195 Glen Cove Marina Rd, Suite 101
Vallejo, CA 94591
IBEW Local 1245 Camp Fire Relief Fund for members who lost their homes
IBEW Local 1245 members have been hard-hit by the Camp Fire. Please donate what you can to help our brothers and sisters through this difficult time. If you or someone that you know has been displaced by the fire, please be sure to notify your Business Rep ( http://ibew1245.com/ask-your-rep/) so we can make sure that they have access to a share of this fund.
UFCW 8-Golden State Disaster Relief Fund for California Fire Victims
The Fire in Butte County has destroyed thousands of homes, displaced members from their jobs, and had a devastating impact on our members in the area. UFCW 8 has created a fund for members in need of assistance. If you are a member in need of help please visit our website www.UFCW8.org/relief or call at (888) 834-4488. We can help.
CDF Firefighters & CAL FIRE Local 2881 Benevolent Foundation
CDF Firefighters Benevolent Foundation, along with CAL FIRE Local 2881, is currently identifying CAL FIRE employees, CAL FIRE Retired, and other fire agency personnel who have lost their homes in the Valley and Butte Fires. The Foundation is issuing checks to these individuals to help with their immediate financial needs.
The Chico Unified Teachers Association Camp Fire Fund for educators and students
The Camp Fire has destroyed Paradise, CA. We are collecting funds to help teachers and their families find housing, replace personal items, and just to show we care.
Butte College Education Association GoFundMe accounts – one for faculty and one for students
Butte College has a set up a GoFundMe page to collect tax-deductible donations that the Butte College Foundation will use to help faculty and students who are victims of the Camp Fire.
Ironworkers Local 118 Paradise Relief Fund for Members
It is our hope that together we can raise funding for Ironworker members who have lost their homes or who are unable to inhabit their homes in some cases due to lack of infrastructure. We would like to offer counseling for those who just need someone to talk to and help them cope with their loss and their experience. The funds will be administered by Greg McClelland of the LMCT and Karl Pineo of Ironworkers Local 118.
Home Care Providers Camp Fire Fund (UDW/AFSCME 3939)
UDW has created a relief fund for their members who have been impacted by the Camp Fire. Funds are needed for immediate relief such as food, clothing, gas and personal care items. Some IHSS providers and clients are also reporting an urgent need for wheelchairs, shower chairs and other durable medical equipment. As time goes on and the immediate tragedy gives way to long-term grief and rebuilding, these individuals will need secure housing, health care, employment and other tools to rebuild their lives.
North State Labor Federation is accepting donations of cash and checks for union members. Funds will go directly to those affected by the fire and in need of assistance. Send checks and donations here:
North State Labor Federation
1009 Sycamore Street, Suite B
Chico, CA 95928
The CTA Chico RRC is also accepting donations of cash and practical gift cards for groceries or essentials. If you can provide housing, for those needing a place to stay, please call the RRC at (530) 345-9743.