November 19, 2018

AFF Community

How You Can Help the Recovery from California’s Fires

By: Katie Modesitt

Dear AFF Community,

For those of you I haven’t met, my name is Katie Modesitt, and I lead our San Francisco chapter. Like many of you, one of my deepest held values is community, being able to serve my neighbor. As lovers of liberty, we put our faith in each other and civil society to keep our communities strong, to uplift those on the margins, and rebuild after tragedy.

It’s been a difficult week to be a Californian. Having lived in the state my entire life, I honestly believe it is the best place on Earth. It is so easy to take for granted my drives down Highway 1 to Big Sur, days spent snowboarding with views of vividly-blue Lake Tahoe, and weekends spent hiking the Marin Headlands. The events of the last week have reminded me to be grateful for the safe and naturally beautiful place I live. However, the terrible air quality in San Francisco is only a harrowing reminder of the climbing death toll, the 600 people still missing, and the hundreds of thousands of acres that continue to burn in both Northern and Southern California. It’s unfathomable to imagine the emotional, physical, and financial toll the fires have taken on the families who have been affected and their larger communities.

When faced with devastation of this magnitude, it’s hard to know how to most effectively respond, and it’s easy to feel hopeless. However, I am reminded of how my own community responded last year to wildfires in Santa Rosa and Sonoma County, where my parents were evacuated from their home. Spending days volunteering at shelters alongside my parents, my friends, and other AFF-SF members reminded me of the resilience of the human spirit and the power of individuals to spontaneously come together in response to disaster. When one Facebook post got me thousands of dollars in small donations to contribute to the relief effort, I was also reminded of my community’s capacity for generosity.

Sending money is the best way to help relief agencies, so I encourage you all as members of the AFF community to contribute what you can to help. Below I’ve included links to some of the organizations helping on a local level.

American Red Cross
Butte County Office of Education
California Community Foundation’s Wildfire Relief Fund
California Fire Foundation
Caring Choices
North Valley Community Foundation
Salvation Army
The Salvation Army – Butte County Camp Fire

Thank you so much for your generosity.

Love, Katie