When confronted with a tragedy

by Mike Toursal

Washington wild fire smoke Seattle September 17 2020

What does the typical motorcyclist do when confronted with a tragedy and people in need? Rush to help, that’s what. Now, much of the Pacific Northwest is afflicted with wildfires. In some places, whole towns have been destroyed. In most places, people have had to flee their homes and don’t know what they will find when they return.

At Eagle Leather, our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected, both those who’ve had to flee the flames and those who fight them. Thoughts and prayers are not enough. We need to act.

So, for the next week, from Monday, September 21, through Sunday, September 27, Eagle Leather will donate ten percent of all sales, both in store and online, to disaster relief for those who’ve lost so much to the fires.

With few exceptions, organizations that are responding to the wildfire crises are not accepting donations of stuff. These relief organizations can buy in bulk, which saves money. They also try to buy from local businesses, which aids the eventual recovery. And, right now, because of COVID-19, sorting through material donations can be risky for their staff.

If you want to donate money, here are a few places to consider.

The Red Cross is setting up shelters and trying to meet the needs of fire refugees. Visit redcross.org, call 800-RED-CROSS, or text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10. The Red Cross has over a thousand volunteers in the field, many of them evacuees themselves. They’ve set up evacuation centers, where people are directed to shelter options. The Red Cross has sheltered thousands of people and are moving people from congregate shelters to hotels as quickly as possible. They’ve served hundreds of thousands of meals and provided tons of needed supplies. They also have Integrate Care Condolence Teams to coordinate services and support for families with missing, hurt, or dead relatives. They also provide contact information for those with medical needs or disabilities, including medications, eyeglasses, or medical equipment, and they offer emotional and spiritual support.

The Salvation Army is also stepping up to aid fire victims. You can designate your gift for “Northwest fires” at salvationarmynw.org or when you call 800-SAL-ARMY.

The Community Foundation of North Central Washington, which serves Chelan, Douglas, and Okanogan counties is collecting donations through the Chelan Valley Fire Relief Fund. Donate at cfncw.org/fire or call 509-663-7716.

The United Way of Chelan and Douglas counties is accepting donations through is Sleepy Hollow fire-relief fund. You can visit uwcdc.org or call 509-662-8261 to donate or mail to P.O. Box 488, Wenatchee, WA 98807. You can also contact Julie Kagele of the Chelan-Douglas Community Action Council at 509-662-6156.

The Okanogan County Community Action Council provides for immediate needs for gas, food, and shelter. Donate at Visit occac.com or call 509-422-4041.

Governor Inslee’s office has a list of community action agencies that need cash donations for their local fire-relief efforts. In addition to the agencies already mentioned, these also need funds to help in their locales.

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