To say the past few weeks have been hard would be an understatement.
We personally were forced from our home, saw our friends lose theirs, and continue to watch devastation sweep across our community as we hear the death toll rise and damages start to be totaled.
Over the first few days, I moved from shock to grief to anger, and then it was time to move into action.
I feel blessed with the opportunity to have Trailside Kitchen as an outlet for fundraising via a Santa Rosa Fire Donation page and feel that it is my responsibility to do so. As with everything else, I want to give full transparency of how the money will be collected and used.
Donations will be collected until November 1st.
Here are the facts so far:
- 5% of all housing in Santa Rosa has been burned
- $1.2 billion dollars in losses estimated in the city of Santa Rosa
- In all of the NorCal fires, 50,000 people were evacuated, 41 people have died so far (with more than half occurring in Santa Rosa) and it is estimated that 212,000 acres were burned
How the donations will be collected:
- DIY Program: 100% of proceeds will go towards fire donation
- Course Program: 100% of proceeds will go towards fire donation
- One on One Program: Not available for a while – I want to focus my time on opening our home to help others (once it’s safe to go back), volunteering, and distributing donations accordingly.
- Dark Drinking Chocolate with Grass Fed Collagen: 100% of proceeds minus the ingredient and packaging cost (please be patient on the fulfillment of these orders since we’ve just returned home and the local post offices are trying to figure out the mail situation for the hundreds of people who have lost their homes)
- Santa Rosa Fire Donation Item: 100% of proceeds (listed in increments of $20 but feel free to add as many items as you’d like to total your desired donation amount)
How the donations will be used:
One thing I felt really strongly about at the beginning of the donation collecting process was to take my time to find a home for the donation. I wanted to see your money go somewhere specific that we could follow along during the rebuilding process instead of pouring into a general fund, and I wanted it to be in the city of Santa Rosa.
Welp, I’ve found it!
I want to introduce you to my friend and MBA colleague, Lotasha Thomas, who is the Controller at The Anova Center for Education.
The Anova Center for Education is Sonoma County’s only nonprofit school for children living with autism and was demolished by the wildfires that ravaged Northern California. Thankfully, none of the school’s students were injured in the fire, but the blaze now leaves 120 students ranging from 5 to 22 years old without a school.
All donations will go toward rebuilding their K-12 classrooms, transition to adulthood program, occupational therapy equipment, and many other specialized needs of their students. They are more than just a school, they offer an environment where students can thrive academically, socially, and emotionally.
What has been amazing in the Anova community is the amount of support rallied around the school, both from families as well as the public schools that refer students to them.
Even families who have lost their homes have donated to rebuild the school and another mom said:
“‘If I had the choice, I would trade my house for that school,” Krawchuk said. “Without even thinking about it.'”
One unique challenge that Anova students face having autism is difficulty handling transitions so the instability of their school life has been hard. A mom describes it below:
“Suzi Musgrove tells KTVU her 19-year-old daughter attends the center in a transition to adulthood program. The program supports young adults in junior college classes, social cognition and occupational therapy, job skills, self care and life skills and more. She has been there for eight years and is very attached to the school. ‘These kids don’t do well with change, it takes a while to process,’ said Musgrove, adding that routine is very important. Musgrove say her daughter is devastated. ‘She’s usually pretty independent. She and her friends are pretty scared there’s a lot of uncertainty,'”
The administration is working hard to find a semi-permanent transition space to give students the stability they need to return to a sense of normalcy with their classmates and teachers until their school is rebuilt.
With ONE WEEK left for all Trailside Kitchen proceeds going towards Santa Rosa Fire Recovery, please join Lotasha and I in helping to rebuild Anova!
Please follow Trailside Kitchen via Instagram, Facebook, and the newsletter community to stay up to date on how the money is being used and what relief efforts are being made. If you purchase the Drinking Chocolate, please tag Trailside Kitchen with #drinkchocolatedogood.
$5,150 raised so far!
Please PLEASE share with your friends to spread the word and give an outlet to help at the ground level.
One thing that’s been reinforced for me this week is that stuff is just stuff and all we have is each other. The biggest impact you can make in this world is to go home and love your family, friends, and strangers.
Thank you for supporting our community,