With the air quality here on the peninsula so effected by the wild fires in the North Bay, rather than looking for opportunities to head out and about this weekend many of us in the 650 are looking for ways to help.

It is hard to see the pictures of the devastated neighborhoods, hear the stories of loss and the fight for survival, or to imagine the next step for those who have lost everything to these fires. Tens of thousands of our friends, families and neighbors in the Wine Country have been impacted. The following are some opportunities to help, here at home.

The North Peninsula Jewish Community Center (800 Foster City Blvd., Foster City) is accepting donations of Target Gift Cards (minimum $25) until Friday, October 20th to be distributed to those in evacuation shelters.

Also in Foster City, Central Peninsula Church, is filling a truck to deliver the following supplies:

  • Flats of bottled water
  • Cliff bars
  • Granola bars
  • Trail mix
  • Dried fruit and dried meat
  • Canned foods
  • Baby formula
  • Baby food
  • Diapers and wipes
  • New twin size blanket
  • Breathing masks: N95 and P100
  • Phone chargers
  • Power Strips

Supplies can be dropped off on weekdays between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm until Wednesday, October 18th at 1005 Shell Drive, Foster City. They will also be taking donations during Sunday morning (October 15th) services at this address, as well as during their 10 am Sunday service at the Fox Theater at 2215 Broadway in Redwood City.

Small Fry Dance Club (1528 S El Camino Real #208, San Mateo) is accepting donations of  clothing for children and teens through Wednesday, October 18th. One thing to note, particularly with clothing donations: please sort and label (gender/size) your donations ahead of time. The bandwidth of volunteers and organizations receiving donations is stretched to the maximum, and items will get to those who need them much more quickly this way.

All Pet Food Express locations are taking donations of pet supplies. In particular, they need pet crates and carriers. They are also taking pet food, gently used pet beds, leashes, bowls, etc. as well as monetary donations for shelters and rescues.

One more way to help out, even here miles away, is to be aware that forest animals have been fleeing the fires and they too have lost their homes, so they may show up in your yards. The Forestry Department is urging you to bring your pets in, especially at night, and to let the wild animals pass through. They also suggest putting out buckets of water for these animals. They are scared, exhausted, no longer have homes, and need to refuel.

Of course monetary donations in the wake of any disaster of this sort are always welcome. The Red Cross and the Marin Humane Society can accept donations online, as well as many other organizations.