Staff Report


Firefighters and other first responders are asking people not to bring donations to their Incident Command Post, but to donate to disaster relief organizations such as the American Red Cross or Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, as well as to any of the several accounts that have been established to help the victims of the Thomas Fire and Montecito mudslides.

United Way of Santa Barbara County is a lead agency for the region to accept cash donations.

Law enforcement officials urge caution for anyone donating financially because con artists often take advantage of an emergency situation by setting up false GoFundMe websites and other types of illegitimate fundraising accounts.

United Way of Santa Barbara County and Ventura County have joined forces to directly support people through the United Way Thomas Fire and Flood Fund. To donate online, log onto; you can also text UWVC to 41444 or call 805-965-8591.

Used clothing, bedding and toys are not being accepted, but nonperishable food, new clothing, toiletries and monetary donations are being accepted at these agencies:

  • American Red Cross: Monetary donations are accepted at Text “redcross” to 90999.
  • Foodbank of Santa Barbara County: Monetary donations, nonperishable foods, and fresh produce accepted at 4554 Hollister Ave., Santa Barbara, 93110; 1525 State St., Suite 100, Santa Barbara, 93101; 490 W. Foster Road, Santa Maria, 93455.
  • Salvation Army: Unopened and canned food, and monetary donations, accepted at 423 Chapala St., Santa Barbara, 93101.
  • Unity Shoppe: New clothing, shoes, blankets, toiletries and monetary donations accepted at 1401 Chapala St., Santa Barbara, 93101.

County officials also urge all residents to register to receive emergency alerts by signing up at

For ongoing updates, visit, follow @countyofsb on Twitter and Facebook, or call 211 from the 805 area code or 800-400-1572 outside of 805, or text your zip code to 898-211.

Officials at GoFundMe have sent out fundraisers specific to the tragedies, but county officials urge people to confirm what they are donating to.