How you can help those impacted by the Thomas Fire

Support Relief efforts across Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties to provide support to our Southern California neighbors.

jose-andres-tangerines-blog
Feeding the firemen fighting the Thomas Fire: José Andrés of World Central Kitchen hands out Ojai-grown tangerines from Churchill Orchards collected by Food Forward.

 

The Thomas Fire is something that we Southern Californians always knew in the back of our minds could happen, but we likely never really thought it would happen to us. Yet it did. And what we witnessed in the face of crisis is a strong, resilient, compassionate, and proud community. Food Forward would like to recognize that, as a community partner in Ventura for the last 7 years, we are in this together, with you all.

As the Thomas Fire continues to burn in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties, displacing many of our Food Forward family and impacting the entire region, many of our produce recovery events in the area have been postponed in respect to those who have been affected and in response to poor air quality. All harvests will be postponed until the New Year, and farmers market gleans will happen on a case-by-case basis.

This tragic event has left a scar on our community, and it will continue to impact the Ventura Branch and our friends in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. In the coming weeks, Food Forward will be working with regional partners to establish a coordinated response; one that considers the long-term effort of supporting those affected while rebuilding our community. We will keep you posted as these opportunities emerge and when there are ways for you to get involved. Thank you to those who have already helped out with Emergency Relief in some way. For those of you looking to get involved now, we can recommend a few things:
FINANCIAL DONATIONS 

Our friends at the United Way of Ventura County are accepting donations for fire victims in Ventura County. You can also donate directly to victims on Go Fund Me. 
NON-FINANCIAL DONATIONS

The Red Cross has been inundated with donation items, and volunteers are sorting through these piles of generosity. Before collecting all of the unwanted items in your house and dropping them off at a site, please check to see what can be of use. You can call the local Red Cross at 805-987-1514.
VOLUNTEER

The Red Cross – providing evacuation centers for displaced community members.
World Central Kitchen – cooking and distributing meals to 2,000 evacuees and first responders twice daily.
Food Bank of Santa Barbara County – distributing emergency food to those in need for the entire week.
L.A. Kitchen – organizing volunteers, food donors, and chefs to to help prepare wholesome, healthy meals for Californians affected by the wildfires.

We also recommend reaching out to your local church and community organizations, as many of them will take on the sustained relief effort for those impacted.
If you have ideas and or specific ways that you think we can make the most impact in Ventura County, please contact our VC Branch Office at 805-630-2728. We will be back in action with regular events as soon as the dust settles. We hope that you can take this down time from harvesting food to help with disaster relief.

**If you or another member of the Food Forward family was impacted by the fire, let us know. We would love to support in any way possible.**

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