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HOW TO HELP

Charities ask for money, pet food to help Station fire victims

The Red Cross and Salvation Army are saying the cash would help them keep the supply lines open. Volunteers are asked to call the organizations before showing up.

September 01, 2009|Larry Gordon

Charitable organizations providing aid to people evacuated from Southern California wildfires say that their greatest need is for cash gifts to sustain supply lines of food and to maintain counseling and relocation services. Donations of pet food also are being requested.

Volunteers who want to help out at emergency shelters should contact agencies such as the Salvation Army and the American Red Cross before showing up at the facilities, officials say. The goal is to ensure proper training, maintain security and distribute staffing where it is most needed.

"We do encourage people to volunteer, but they do need to get some training before they become shelter workers," said Charlie Sardou, communications director for the Red Cross' Greater Los Angeles chapter. He said such training can be done in a day and then a volunteer would be on call for this and future emergencies.

"This is just the beginning of fire season," he said.

The Southern California division of the Salvation Army said it had enough shelter workers for now, "but that situation could change," according to spokesman Robert Brennan, who urged potential volunteers to contact the agency.

Potential volunteers for the Red Cross should call (866) 548-8226. Financial donations can be made at (310) 445-2685 or online at www.redcrossla.org.

To donate or volunteer for the Salvation Army, call (800) 725-2769 or go online to www.salvationarmy-socal.org.

The groups asked that individual donations of food or clothing not be dropped off at shelters, which don't have the staff to handle them.

However, donors of clothing and household goods at Goodwill stores in Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties can ask that their gifts be used to help provide shopping vouchers to fire victims under an arrangement with the Red Cross. Goodwill Southern California has 100 stores and donation centers, which can be found by calling (888) 446-6394 or going online to www.goodwillsocal.org.

Goodwill spokeswoman Christianne Ray said the program allows fire victims "the option of shopping whenever they are ready and to shop for exactly what they need." The Red Cross decides how large a voucher each household receives.

Since the evacuations began Friday, the Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA has provided temporary home to about 300 pets and now asks for donations of cat food and cat litter. "All brands are fine. And we will take dog food, of course, and towels and blankets too," said Hillary Gatlin, a community resources associate. She requested that the items be brought to the society at 361 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena. For more information or to make monetary donations, call (626) 792-7151 or go online to www.phsspca.org.

Los Angeles' Department of Animal Services said Monday that it too is seeking pet food donations to aid animals evacuated in the Sunland-Tujunga area.

Donations should be brought to the department's North Central facility near downtown Los Angeles at 3201 Lacy Street. For more information, call (888) 452-7381.

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larry.gordon@latimes.com

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