Berkeley mobilizes to provide aid to victims of North Bay fires

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After the spread of 17 wildfires across the North Bay, which have destroyed roughly 1,500 buildings and killed at least 23, East Bay companies and student groups have mobilized to help victims of the wildfires.

Student groups Sigma Phi Epsilon, Global Medical Training and Sage Mentorship Project have joined to fundraise and collect supplies for the victims of the wildfires. The groups are hoping to collect toiletries, sleeping bags and drinking water, among other supplies, to donate to evacuation centers in Sonoma and Napa counties.

Donations can be dropped off both in the Anthropology Department’s main office in Kroeber Hall, as well as the Sigma Phi Epsilon house, located at 2728 Channing Way.

Transfers students Nawang Sherpa and Gustaf Duff are from Santa Rosa, one of the areas affected by the fire. They both tabled on Sproul Plaza on Wednesday to raise awareness for supplies needed. They also created a GoFundMe page Wednesday to fundraise for relief efforts, which has raised $250 as of press time, with a listed goal of $10,000.

“Being students here and part of the community there, (we) felt a need to do something here as well,” Sherpa said.

According to Sherpa, the groups will be tabling on Sproul through Friday.

Equator Coffees & Teas, which has a location in the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union on campus, intends to partner with Urban Remedy to provide coffee, scones, fresh-baked cookies and orange juice to wildfire victims. Many staff members of Equator, which is based in Marin County, have been affected by the wildfires, according to community engagement manager Akaash Saini.

Equator CEO and co-founder Helen Russell said in a press release that she visited an evacuation center in San Rafael on Wednesday and that the center asked Equator to direct aid to a new evacuation center that recently opened in Novato. Saini said Equator also set up a coffee brewer for the center in San Rafael and its volunteers Wednesday.

City Councilmember Ben Bartlett expressed concern for the victims of the wildfires and highlighted the Berkeley community’s efforts to provide aid.

“The people in the East Bay are traveling North to provide aid and support in evacuation centers, donating food and supplies, creating go-fund-me pages and even offering rooms and beds for evacuees to stay in,” Bartlett said in an email. “The East Bay community will continue to do what it can to support (victims).”

Contact Elena Aguirre at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @eaguirreDC.

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