Helping volunteer firefighters on the front lines

The Volunteer Fire Foundation, in partnership with the Rebuild NorthBay Foundation and Gold Ridge Fire District, is asking for donations to support the critically underfunded volunteer firefighters of Sonoma County as they battle another round of historic blazes.

Unlike many fundraising campaigns, this one is developed under the advisement of firefighters themselves. 

VFF advisor and fire chief, Shepley Schroth-Cary, has compiled an evolving list of needs from all three Gold Ridge fire stations and seven Volunteer Fire Companies in his purview.

Every dollar raised will go toward fulfilling these needs, which including sleeping cots and portable cooking systems.

As a bonus, the Volunteer Fire Foundation’s fiscal sponsor, the Rebuild North Bay Foundation, has generously pledged to match the first $5,000 we raise.


WHY IT MATTERS


Volunteer firefighters are our neighbors – ranchers and small business owners, students and moms – who complete the same training, run the same calls and take the same risks as their paid peers. The main difference: they don’t receive a salary or benefits.

But even among volunteers, there are striking disparities in the quality of their rigs and gear.

Some Volunteer Fire Companies exist in communities with deeper pockets than others. Some have excelled at the time-consuming and nuanced grant-writing game. And some just make do with what they have.

For Valley Ford, that means driving a nearly 30-year-old truck.

For Camp Meeker, that meant blowing a transmission while trying to save a home in last year’s Kincade Fire.

And for nearly all of them, it means foregoing basic but costly firehouse equipment like exhaust fans that minimize hazardous fumes and special washing machines that decontaminate their gear.

Things are slowly improving – as of this year, Bloomfield volunteers no longer respond to fires in a converted milk truck.

But after Covid-19 cleared the calendar of pancake breakfasts and polenta dinners – essential fundraisers for Volunteer Fire Companies – they need our help more than ever.

Not that they’ll admit that, of course, it’s not their way.

Volunteer firefighters are the ultimate helpers: the ones who show up in their red rigs on our worst days, requesting nothing in return.

Ask them why they do it and most will shrug: because it’s our community. Because it’s the right thing to do.

Our hope is that you’ll support them here, now, for the same reason: because it’s your community. Because it’s the right thing to do.


ABOUT THIS FUNDRAISER

In times of crisis, we all want to help the helpers, but firefighters typically decline aid for two reasons: in the throes of a catastrophic fire, they don’t have the time or bandwidth to manage well-meaning offers. And it’s simply not part of their culture to do so.

That’s what makes this fundraiser unique. Because of the Volunteer Fire Foundation’s established relationship with local chiefs, you can trust that your donation is fulfilling firefighters’ needs – as defined by the firefighters themselves.

All money raised will support the Volunteer Fire Companies in Bodega, Two Rock, Bloomfield, Camp Meeker, Fort Ross, Lakeville, and Wilmar; The Gold Ridge Fire Protection District consisting of the communities of Hessel, Twin Hills, and Freestone; and other Sonoma County fire departments with active volunteer programs.

Neither the Volunteer Fire Foundation or Rebuild NorthBay Foundation is applying administrative fees, so 100% of funds raised will go directly to fulfilling needs.


ABOUT VOLUNTEER FIRE FOUNDATION

Volunteer Fire Foundation is a newly-formed nonprofit created to support volunteer firefighters from recruitment through retirement in Sonoma County and beyond.


ABOUT REBUILD NORTHBAY FOUNDATION

Rebuild NorthBay Foundation, formed in the wake of the 2017 North Bay fires, is committed to the long-term rebuilding of our region as a more sustainable and resilient community through Advocacy, Coordination and Collaboration.

You can view RNBF’s Guidestar Profile here .

Donations

 See top
  • Genevieve Abedon  
    • $28 
    • 17 hrs
  • Meriah Jacobs-Frost 
    • $200 
    • 10 d
  • Anonymous 
    • $130 
    • 11 d
  • Colleen K 
    • $50 
    • 12 d
  • Sherry Ortiz 
    • $50 
    • 12 d
See all

Organizer

Jacqueline Jorgeson 
Organizer
Santa Rosa, CA
Rebuild North Bay Foundation 
Registered nonprofit
Donations are 100% tax deductible.
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