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Red Cross Issues One-Month Progress Report on Northern California Wildfires Relief Response

Red Cross Shelter

The American Red Cross issued a detailed one-month progress report on its efforts to provide food, water, shelter, relief supplies and other help to people affected by this year’s wildfires in Northern California.

“Through some of the worst wildfires in our state’s history, I have been inspired by the dedication of our volunteers and resilience of Californians. Thanks to generous donors and the many community members who selflessly jumped in to help their neighbors, the Red Cross has provided impacted residents with shelter, food, emotional support and needed supplies—from the first frightening evacuations through the stressful weeks that followed,” said Trevor Riggen, chief executive officer, American Red Cross of the Bay Area and Northern California Coastal Region. “Today, our volunteers, employees and disaster partners continue working with wildfire survivors to offer them support and guidance on their road to recovery.”

First igniting in the late evening and early morning hours of October 8-9, the deadly blazes spread rapidly due to high winds and dry conditions—striking many neighborhoods with little warning and forcing families to flee at a moment’s notice. In the chaotic weeks that followed, at least 90,000 people were displaced from their homes by the fast-moving fires, often taking little more than what they could carry.


As of November 9, the Red Cross has raised $10.7 million in designated donations for these wildfires. All donations earmarked for the fires will be used to support relief and recovery efforts for this disaster. Learn more about how donations are helping in our detailed report. The following are examples of how donations are being used:

Donations pay for provision and delivery of food, shelter and relief items, accounting for $4.5 million of our preliminary budget estimate. In the first month, the Red Cross served more than 189,200 meals and snacks, provided more than 27,900 overnight stays in shelters, and distributed more than 144,300 relief items.

Donations pay for health and mental health services, accounting for $500,000 of our preliminary budget estimate. In the first month, the Red Cross provided more than 15,300 services to support and care for people.

Donations pay for immediate financial assistance, accounting for $2.6 million of our preliminary budget estimate. To help people recover and get back on their feet, Red Cross caseworkers have opened more than 2,300 cases to support Californian households.

Donations pay for individual and community recovery programs, accounting for $2.1 million of our preliminary budget estimate. The Red Cross is working alongside our community partners to plan for long-term recovery services for people who need extra help with their recovery efforts and programs to help the hardest-hit communities rebound and prepare for future disasters.

Donations pay to transport, lodge and feed trained disaster workers who work in shelters, drive food trucks, hand out relief supplies, replace medications and eyeglasses, provide emotional support and coordinate with local officials.

Donations pay for the freight and warehousing expenses that enable the Red Cross to provide cots and blankets for people in shelters, and the relief items we’ve given out to help people clean up their homes.

Donations pay for the equipment, maintenance and fueling of emergency vehicles that deliver meals and relief items to people in need.

Donations also pay for the full-time program staff, disaster information technology, communications and call center infrastructure that make all of this help possible.

Donations also pay for our management, general and fundraising expenses that support our work at its core and are indispensable to running the organization and helping people in need. They include the people and systems to maintain our enterprise-wide computer and telecommunications, HR and payroll systems to support our more than 20,000 employees and nearly 314,000 volunteers, fundraising and communications functions, and other support services across all program lines.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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