By Laura Stampler
November 15, 2018

With three wildfires burning around California—the fast-spreading Sierra Fire; the Camp Fire, which has killed at least 48; and the Woolsey Fire, which has killed two—companies are donating everything from money to hotel rooms to internet hotspots in an effort to help first responders and hundreds of thousands of evacuees. Here are some of the ways corporations, local businesses, and nonprofits have been helping.

Free and Discounted Hotels and Places to Stay

According to USA Today, several hotels in Southern California are offering free and discounted rooms to those who have been displaced by fire.

“Our doors are open for you as long as we have rooms to provide,” The Standard Hotel said in an Instagram post offering people who can provide both proof of address and an evacuation notice a free night in its Downtown or Hollywood hotel through Sunday.

On Monday, Airbnb announced that it would be offering free stays to release workers and displaced persons through its Open Homes Program, which launched in 2012 to aid Hurricane Sandy evacuees. “I think in moments like this, the images are so devastating and we can all feel a little helpless and we can all help,” Airbnb social impact head Kim Rubey told NBC.

Free Rides to Evacuation Centers and Shelters

Uber is offering users two free rides, costing up to $50 each, to and from Ventura and LA county evacuation centers. According to its blog — which also lists eligible evacuation centers — evacuees can redeem their rides through midnight November 17 by using the promo code “VENSAFE1018”.

Lyft is offering two free rides worth $15 each through its partnership with United Way. Using the code CAMPRELIEF in Chico and WOOLSEYRELIEF in Southern California, users can redeem their rides through November 18.

The VCA Animal Hospital, Humane Society, and Los Angeles County Animal Care Foundation are assisting shelter and feed displaced pets — and are accepting donations, as well.

WiFi and Mobile Communications for Victims

To help residents and emergency personnel stay informed, Comcast has opened 43,500 XFINITY WiFi hotspot in Northern California regions impacted by the Camp Fire to subscribers and non-subscribers.

Verizon has provided evacuation centers with communication stations that provide free calling, texting, and data.

Product and Technical Support for Responders

Microsoft general manager Adrienne Hall told NBC that on top of donations, the company is “providing Microsoft products and technical support to affected municipalities and responders.”

And on top of monetary donations, Google Maps has been regularly updating its 2018 California fire map to identify fire boundaries and road closures.

Financial Donations from Companies

On top of services, companies are also assisting rescue organizations with monetary donations. To name a few: Chevron donated $1 million to the American Red Cross; Wells Fargo announced $250 thousand in donations to be split among the Red Cross, Los Angeles Fire Department, and other local organizations; Disney has pledged $500,000 ; Facebook will donate $250,000 to the Red Cross and match another $500,000; Google pledged $500,000 to various organizations as well as match donations from those who used its platform to donate; and Salesforce will donate $250,000 to fund an emergency response vehicle and match employee donations; and Tim Cook tweeted that Apple will donate an undisclosed amount for relief.

While they might not have hundreds of thousands of dollars to spare, various local businesses are also doing what they can to help. Refinery29 reports that So-Cal beauty brands Osea — whose founder lost her house to the Woodley fire — BeautyBlender, and Thrive Causemetics donated a day’s proceeds to evacuation efforts.

A local Shake Shack also donated a day’s proceeds to the Ventura County Community Foundation and will be providing free meals to police, fire fighters, and rescue workers all week.


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