Help in San Diego: Wildfires 2007

A list of people, places and things to help San Diego live through and recover from the wildfires.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Fire aid for Fallbrook

Posted @ 3:53 PM

The community aid group "Fallbrook After The Ashes" is scheduled this Sunday to host a street fair downtown to raise money for victims of the Rice Canyon fire.
The fair will be held from noon to 5 p.m. on Main Street. All of the proceeds will go toward helping people affected by the fires.
The fair will feature a tribute to local firefighters and law enforcement, local vendor booths, live and silent auctions, live bands, food, wine tasting, a beer garden, and a children's area.
Some of the featured musicians will include Matt Hensley of Flogging Molly, Raiz Music, and Fear the Fat Guy.
The Rice Canyon fire destroyed more than 200 homes in Fallbrook -- half of them in the Valley Oaks Mobile Ranch off Reche Road.
For more information, go to
-- Bruce Lieberman, staff writer

Dealing with trauma post-fire

Posted @ 3:34 PM

A community forum on coping with trauma in the aftermath of the San Diego firestorms is set for Nov. 14 at the Doubletree Golf Resort in Rancho Penasquitos.

Panelists include psychiatrists and psychologists from Palomar Pomerado Health system, Alliant International University and Rancho Bernardo High School.

The event sponsored by the Doubletree and Alliant is set for 7-9 p.m. in the hotel's Heritage Ballroom, 14455 Penasquitos Drive.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Fire donation center to close

Posted @ 4:53 PM

Fire victims seeking free clothes, food and household items will no longer have a one-stop place to collect those donations.

The city of San Diego plans to close the Rancho Bernardo Donation Assistance Center, which has been operating in a vacant lot across the street from the city-run local assistance center. The assistance center in the city's RB Recreation Center will remain open to help victims get their local, state and federal paperwork processed and receive other kinds of aid.

Sally Hales of the Hope Foundation said her organization contracted with the city to oversee the donation center, where victims could "shop" for the stuff of daily life, from toothpaste to toys. Hales said they were asked to close by noon Wednesday.

"We would have liked to stay longer," said Hales. She said victims can still receive assistance and donations from the Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church Resale Shop at 12845 Poway Road. For people wishing to donate to fire victims, city officials suggested contacting the Salvation Army, Goodwill, the American Red Cross or the San Diego Foundation.

- Lisa Petrillo, staff writer

Helping Hands Disaster Relief Foundation

Posted @ 2:22 PM

Helping Hands Disaster Relief Foundation is sponsoring a "FREE STORE" for survivors of the wildfires to "shop" for items they need to rebuild this Saturday, November 10th from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Mt. Olive Lutheran Church and Preschool in Poway.

DONATION DROP-OFF: We are able to accept donations on Friday, November 9th from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Mt. Olive Church as well as from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. prior to the start of the Free Store. If you have donations and are unable to make it to Mt. Olive Church at these specified times, contact me at to schedule a drop-off at my house (12944 Camino Del Valle, Poway 92064).

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES: Our Volunteer Coordinators are: Diedre Mikkelson ( or 858-829-1316, Sue Peterson at or Cindy Light at or 858-547-0199.

Below are the times we will need volunteers specifically:
We will need drivers (with large vehicles) on Friday, November 9th at 12:30 p.m. to meet at Price Self Storage (located on Murphy Canyon Road - close to Qualcomm Stadium) to pack up trucks/vans, etc. with donated goods and deliver them to Mt. Olive Church.

Donation sorters for Friday, November 9th from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Volunteers to help set up the Free store from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Saturday, November 10th.

Volunteers to help at the Free Store at various stations/tables to help fire victims and families (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.) on Saturday, November 10th.

BOXES: If you have any boxes (moving boxes, xerox paper boxes or any larger boxes) or access to boxes, we would love to use them! Boxes can be brought to Mt. Olive Church during the same drop off times listed above prior to the event. It is easier for the families to bring their items to their car if they have boxes to transport them.

BAGS: Any large plastic bags (garbage bags) can be used as well.

MONETARY DONATIONS: We are also accepting gift cards for grocery stores, Target, Walmart, local restaurants as well as cash donations made payable to Helping Hands Disaster Relief Foundation. ALL donations will go directly to the fire victims.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Requests for aid in Fallbrook are shifting

Posted @ 6:48 PM

The flow of people into Fallbrook's county-run Local Assistance Center, situated at the Fallbrook Community Center since Oct. 27, has slowed significantly.

Throughout last week, aid workers saw a flood of people seeking shelter, food and other necessities. On Monday, people were predominantly seeking help with the next stage of recovery - cleaning up their properties, obtaining building permits and getting their homes re-built, and coping with wage and business losses, said Ruth Ann Petro, a county spokeswoman.

People who suffered lost wages during the evacuations are seeking help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the California Employment Development Department (at

Several avocado grove owners have sought aid from the Small Business Association (at and the county's department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures (at

The Fallbrook Local Assistance Center will remain open for the foreseeable future, Petro said.

- Bruce Lieberman, staff writer

Senior center to offer counseling

Posted @ 6:41 PM

Seniors seeking counseling due to last month's wildfires will be able to find help at the Fallbrook Senior Center at 399 Heald Lane.

The center is planning to host group counseling sessions, although the times and dates are not yet scheduled, said Phyllis Sweeney, a grief counselor at the center.

A separate group may be set up especially for residents of the Valley Oaks Mobile Ranch, which lost 120 out of 170 homes, Sweeney said.

Seniors who have experienced losses or were separated from friends and loved ones during evacuations are struggling with a variety of stresses, Sweeney said.

Seniors who need counseling services can contact Sweeney at 760-731-3037.

- Bruce Lieberman, staff writer

Video Memories By Bev

Posted @ 2:24 PM

Video Memories by Bev will replace any DVD lost in the fires, at no charge, that the company has produced. This includes weddings, special events, photo montages, slide transfers or old home videos. Bev, the owner, has kept master copies of all of her work that can easily be duplicated.

For information, call Bev at (619) 334-7830.

Prescription drug assistance in Fallbrook

Posted @ 12:03 PM

A bus staffed by representatives of the pharmaceutical industry is in Fallbrook today to offer residents impacted by the Rice Canyon wildfire assistance with their prescription drugs.

The "Help is Here Express" bus tour will be parked at St. Peter's Catholic Community Church until 4 p.m. today to help uninsured people find programs that provide prescription medicines for free or nearly free, according to Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

The church is located at 450 South Stage Coach Lane.

The bus tour is part of the Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA), a national effort sponsored by American drug research companies. The PPA claims to have helped more than 4.3 million patients, including more than 250,000 people in California. Since its launch in April 2005, the PPA bus tour has visited all 50 states and more than 1,500 cities to raise awareness about patient assistance programs.

The "Help is Here Express" is staffed by specialists to help low-income, uninsured or underinsured patients access more than 475 patient assistance programs, including more than 180 programs offered by pharmaceutical companies. For patients who have been affected by the recent wildfires, expedited assistance is available.

When the "Help is Here Express" leaves Fallbrook, people in need can visit PPA's Web site ( or call 1-888-4PPA-NOW (toll free) Operators can field calls in more than 150 languages.

- Bruce Lieberman, staff writer

La Jolla Reservation residents need help

Posted @ 10:34 AM

The La Jolla Indian reservation, one of the hardest hit by the Poomacha fire, is accepting donations of batteries, hoses, clothing, shoes, canned goods and gift cards to discount stores.

"We're having a problem right now with shoes," said Calvin Rodriguez, who is organizing efforts at the tribe's gym on Sengme Oaks Road off state Route 76.

Also, much of the donated clothes the tribe has received so far are too small, he said. "Most of our people are pretty big," he said.

People interested in helping the tribe may contact Rodriguez at (760) 271-8671.

The La Jolla band is also working with the San Diego Foundation, which has set up a relief fund for Indian tribes. More information is available at

--Onell R. Soto, staff writer

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Fallbrook aid group in action

Posted @ 6:47 PM

A Fallbrook group has worked hard this week getting aid to people who lost everything in last week's fires.

North County Community Emergency Response Team, or CERT, is a grass-roots group based in Fallbrook that serves residents of Fallbrook, Rainbow and Bonsall.

Established in 2005, the group coordinates its work with the North County Fire Department, said Everett Herb, a volunteer with the group.

Yesterday, CERT had a tent set up at Fallbrook's Local Assistance Center at 341 Heald Lane - ground zero for aid for fire victims.

CERT was mobilized initially to provide aid for pets and other animals impacted by the fire, but so many people have donated items for people that volunteers have been busy assembling and delivering care packages, said Everett Herb, a 50-year-old volunteer.

Volunteers with the group have delivered numerous items to fire victims throughout Fallbrook but also to Ramona and Pauma Valley, said Christina Martinez, a 32-year-old volunteer.

One CERT volunteer brought dog food, water and care packages in his pick-up truck to Palomar Mountain.

The group has supplied fire victims with pet food, kitty litter, kennels, blankets, pet beds, collars and leashes, flashlights, batteries, diapers, dust masks, plastic buckets, gloves and many more items.

CERT is still accepting donations. Call James Beebe at 760-728-2010 or contact him at

- Bruce Lieberman, staff writer