Image courtesy of US Dept of Agriculture via Wikipedia

October 29, 2019; San Francisco Chronicle and NBC Bay Area


Nonprofits have geared up quickly over the last week to help evacuees and first responders from the Kincade Fire in Sonoma County, California.

As the San Francisco Chronicle reports, two nonprofits, World Central Kitchen and Sonoma Family Meal, have already served an estimated 22,000 meals to evacuees and first responders. Both nonprofits leverage well-known chefs and other volunteers to chop, peel, and prep food. World Central Kitchen was founded by celebrity chef José Andrés and his wife, and the organization has become a “food first responder” at disasters around the world.

Sonoma Family Meal was founded by food writer Heather Irwin to feed people who lost their homes during the 2017 Sonoma fires. The organization still feeds four meals each week to 55 families who lost homes. The nonprofit’s 7,000-square-foot commercial kitchen was up and running within days when the new fire ignited near Healdsburg.

“This isn’t over when it’s over,” Irwin said. “When everybody pulls out and goes onto the next disaster, we stay and serve the people who are really suffering.”

This year’s fire started during the harvest season in wine country. To help farm workers affected by the fires, San Francisco’s Latino Community Foundation has reopened its NorCal Wildfire Relief Fund, NBC Bay Area reports. The fund supports two nonprofits, Nuestra Comunidad and Corazon Healdsburg, that shelter and support Latino and immigrant families displaced by fires.  A Sonoma County Farmworker Health Survey from four years ago found that 95 percent of Sonoma County’s farm workers are Latinx.

NPQ has noted how natural disasters, including wildfires, disproportionately harm communities of color or those with less income because recovery assistance is often difficult to obtain or insufficient. Nonprofits that help with the basics after the national attention has moved on are therefore doubly welcome.—Catherine Jones