Local wildfire relief effort expands

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San Pablo councilmember scales up wildfire relief efforts
San Pablo Councilmember Rich Kinney in a warehouse with a trailer donated for use in a wildfire victims relief effort. (Photo: YouTube)

By Mike Kinney

Rich Kinney, a San Pablo councilmember and president of the San Pablo Rotary, is leading a scaled-up effort from past years to support the growing number of wildfire victims throughout California.

After the Tubbs Fire in 2017 and Camp Fire in 2018, Councilmember Kinney led efforts to provide motorhomes to victims who had lost their homes.

“We were able to get three donated motor homes for Santa Rosa and we started raising funds to acquire four motorhomes for Paradise,” Kinney said.

Now, amid another year of destructive statewide wildfires, Kinney and his non-profit Apostle City Ministries are teaming with community service clubs, churches, banks and other groups and individuals to launch a Fire Victims Relief Fund. Kinney said he felt compelled to coordinate a stepped-up response as one doesn’t currently exist locally.

Already, warehouse space has been donated to the effort to store donated supplies. Also donated was a travel trailer that can be hooked up to a vehicle to transport and distribute supplies to disaster areas. Alan Baer, past president for the Berkeley Rotary Club and employed by Armour Locksmith, is offering the free service of a large truck with a lift gate to distribute supplies.

The aim is to reach out to Rotary organizations in cities burned by wildfires throughout the state, in order to identify and coordinate distribution of donations to evacuees.

Volunteers are being sought to assist with warehouse operations and distribution. Also needed are motorhomes and trailers in good condition, water, Gatorade, canned and packaged food, personal items, and gift cards for restaurants, groceries and gas. 

Gas gift cards are also needed to support volunteers commuting to disaster sites.

“I also have been in touch with Eagles and Lions service organizations as well” to support the effort, Kinney said. Aerial Vid Photography donated its company time and resources to produce a video promoting the Fund.

“Let’s come alongside our neighbors and help them in their time need,” Kinney said.

For more information on how to volunteer and/or donate, contact Rich Kinney at (510) 910-2087, [email protected] or visit www.apostlecity.com.