Despite Need, Fire Evacuation Centers No Longer Have Room For Donations

NAPA COUNTY (CBS13) – The generosity of the public has left evacuation centers from Santa Rosa to Napa and Sonoma counties inundated with donations.

Many shelters are maxed out, overwhelmed with processing all the items, and officials are now urging folks to slow down on sending in-kind donations that are causing a logistical challenge.

Sacramento Metro Firefighter Mike DeJong has two truckloads of donations gathered from the community and ready to take to Santa Rosa.

“My biggest concern was where was it all gonna go, because we had been hearing places were not accepting more and more items,” said Dejong.

Dejong once lived in Santa Rosa, so for him, it hits close to home. He already helped deliver one shipment, now the massive pile of goods being stored at Fire Station 29 is his second.

“It’s not that they don’t need the help, they just don’t have a place to store it,” he said.

In this horrific week of tragedy since the fires broke out, shelters across Northern California have been showered with love.

“We are so grateful for the donations, but we can’t take any more right now,” officials said during a Monday press conference.

In Napa, the county has made warehousing space available to store the excess items pouring in. Supervisor Belia Ramos is now urging folks to pace themselves.

“We are absolutely inundated with in-kind donations. We don’t have the capacity at our evacuation centers, we don’t have the avenue to take it in, we’ve exhausted all of our avenues at this time,” says Ramos to CBS13.

Red Cross spokesman Steve Walsh says “monetary donations serve us better so we can meet the exact needs of the families, but we will not turn away things brought to the shelters. Once the shelters are closed, we will sort through items and our goal is to honor donor intent, so if you want it to go to fire victims, we’ll make sure that happens.”

Meanwhile, Dejong luckily found one shelter in Santa Rose who promised to take in all the items they had collected. They will be loading everything up on Wednesday and making the delivery.

But for those wanting to help, monetary donations in the form of gift cards are best at least for now; $25-$50 gift cards are best to help cover gas and incidentals for the families.

“We need to make sure to pave ourselves, there will be a need in the future I process,” said Ramos.

Some leading relief organizations for monetary donations by region:

Sonoma County Resilience Fund: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/1431417

Napa Valley Community Foundation: http://www.napavalleycf.org/and

Community Foundation of Mendocino County: http://www.communityfound.org/for-donors/donate-today/community-funds/disaster-fund-for-mendocino-county/

Red Cross: https://www.redcross.org/donate/1017c

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