Mission and 22nd Street, SF fire
I rode by on my bike tonight right as the fire broke out and witnessed families who had just lost their homes mourning on the street, as hoards of passersby unremorsefully filmed the scene on their phones.
I've started this fund to prove that, as a community, we care about our long-time residents. Let's come together a support them in this time of need.
The county, in conjunction with the Salvation Army, has found temporary places for most of the displaced to stay, but keep in mind that most of these folks have lost everything.
I met with most of the affected residents this week, heard their stories, and took down their private contact information. The vast majority of them are low-income, latino families who had been in their apartments for 20+ years. They are incredibly good people -- and they have been so resilient throughout all of this. They are currently moving around from place to place, but I've been informed that the city -- particularly Benjamin Aymes, the city's Disaster Relief Manager -- is working as hard as it can to relocate them.
Here's a few of their stories, for anyone interested:
For all those who wish to donate items *other than money* (clothes, food, etc.), please get in touch with the Salvation Army, who has been collecting stuff for the past two weeks:
Mission Corps Community Center (Salvation Army)
1500 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
In particular, the victims told me they needed: women's hygiene products (pads, tampons, etc), water, nonperishable food,new socks,new underwear, and clothing. There is not a major need for children's items at this time.
And a note on where this money will be going:
I'm partnering with MEDA (Mission Economic Development Agency) to distribute these funds in the form of cash. They are a local nonprofit with many additional resources to offer families, and I'm excited to work with them. MEDA will NOT be charging any kind of administrative fee; aside from the 7.9% taken by GoFundMe and WePay, all of these proceeds will get into the families' hands.
This has been a difficult task so far (keep in mind I'm just a mere journalist who wanted to help solve a problem -- I'm not a social worker, or nonprofit maestro). But, I've been receiving a lot of good support, and weeding out malicious people. This money will get into the hands of those who need it. I will make sure of that.
Thanks again for your support. Any questions, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Let's band together to prove that we can support our long-time residents in the face of crisis.
If you're receiving this email, it is because you donated to my campaign last year (gofund.me/l1hrw8) — the relief effort set up to help the families who lost their homes in the Mission/22nd Street fire.
Last Saturday, there was another huge fire in the Mission. It displaced 58 people, many of whom are long-time, Latino residents.
My close friend, Edwin Lindo, has organized a GoFundMe on their behalf. You can find it here: https://www.gofundme.com/2a6gsws
Last time, we all came together, chipped in what we could, and raised $180,000. That money went directly to the families in check form, and helped them get back on their feet.
Please consider coming together once again to support Edwin's fundraiser. I know we can do this again for the city we all love so deeply.
This will be the last update I send out regarding this campaign.
I just wanted to let you all know that this past Thursday and Friday (2/26-27), the checks were handed out to all the residents of 3222 Mission Street. The total amount we raised, minus the fees of GoFundMe (5%) and WePay (2.9%), amounted to $165,606.49.
The system of distribution MEDA and I worked out gave each family a base amount, as well as additional allocations for children, the elderly, single mothers, and roommates. Checks ranged from about $6,000 (for one, single occupant) to more than $15,000 (a mother and father with three very young children). In the end, everyone felt they'd received a fair amount; for many of the victims, it was the most money they'd ever held in their hands.
The majority of recipients said they'd be using it to buy essentials -- to start the process of slowly putting their lives back together. Many have been relocated to Treasure Island, and are settling into new homes, but a few are still seeking placement by the city and remain at shelters/hotels.
Here's a little media coverage, just for verification's sake:
In the wake of this campaign's success, MEDA has set up its own fundraiser for the building's business owners. We've come together to support the residents and families, but it should also be kept in mind that 36 businesses were lost -- and some 71 people lost their jobs. If you'd like to help out on that front too, please find their campaign below:
Once again, thank you everyone for your support, hard work, and donations. This city is lucky to have each and every one of you.
Just a note that I'll be closing this campaign TONIGHT at 10PM, as it is important that these funds get to the residents displaced by the fire. I had previously said I'd be closing it by the end of last week, but decided to keep it open a few days longer, as we got a little extra publicity over the weekend. Tonight will be absolutely final. Here's what will happen moving forward.
Touching on my previous updates, I'll be working with the Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA), to disperse this money. They are not charging any kind of administrative fee. The only fees that will be taken out of our $179,369 (and counting) total are GoFundMe's 5% cut, and WePay's 2.9% cut. We've lobbied hard for them to reduce these fees, but have had no luck.
MEDA and I have come up with a simple formula that we feel fairly divides the funds between everyone in need. A base amount will be given to each unit, and additional allocations will be given for children, the elderly, single mothers, and additional residents (roommates). We've conducted personal assessments with all the tenants, and have a good idea where they stand financially. After many hours of deliberating, we're confident that this method works out the best for the residential victims.
It takes GoFundMe roughly 3-5 days to transfer the funds to us, and then it will likely take us another week or two to cut checks. We feel we're still on target to give this money to the residents by the end of this month, or by the first week of next month. If we encounter any roadblocks, or if anything changes that will affect this timing, I will let you all know immediately.
Though this campaign will be closed after today, the option to donate directly to MEDA will remain open. Any cash/checks need to be made out to “MEDA – Mission Fire Victims Fund” and delivered/mailed to MEDA at 2301 Mission Street, Suite 301, c/o Andrew Bowles, San Francisco, CA 94110. Anyone wishing to donate online can follow these instructions (In the section ‘Restrict your donation by writing the program name,’ please make sure that you write “Mission Fire Victim’s Fund”):
I've been told by many people that we've accomplished something historic with this campaign: it is one of the largest community-organized disaster relief efforts in San Francisco's history. The generosity you all exhibited is truly amazing. We've truly proven that we have the power to come together and change lives for the better -- even if it's just in some small way.
Donations have ranged from $5 to $16,000, and have come from every sector of society -- tech companies, construction workers, activists, bakers, and teachers alike. If you're reading this, please be proud of yourself for standing up, being active, and helping those in need.
I'll continue to send out updates on our progress, and I'll make sure to let everyone know when the money has been given out. In the meantime, I'm more than happy to answer any questions: email@example.com
The day of the fire, "Sam" [name changed] was at the hospital with his partner, giving birth to a baby girl when he heard the news he'd lost everything. Meanwhile, Jorge Flores was trapped in the building with third degree burns:
Topher LaFata, also known as "Gold Chains," was one of the Bay Area's most well-known DJs in the early 2000s; he lost 20 years of recording equipment in the fire. Christian Tigua reflects on his mother's psychological trauma, and his family's efforts to heal their emotional wounds:
I've been informed that when I post a new update, the previous one is sometimes hidden, so I'm pasting the prior one below as well, just to make sure nobody misses any details.
UPDATE (2/8, 7:30pm):
As you may have noticed we met, and have soared past, our $150,000 goal. I've raised our target to $200,000; this will be the last time it is raised. I want to provide a quick explanation as to why I've upped the goal.
I know $200,000 seems like a huge amount of money, but please keep in mind that it needs to be divided between some 60+ individuals (16 of whom are children). That's 18 families -- and every single one has lost their home and everything they own.
Also, just a reminder that GoFundMe takes a 5% cut, and WePay (GoFundMe's payment system) takes a 2.9% cut from all donations. I have tried numerous times to get GoFundMe to negotiate or waive these fees to no avail: they are totally unwilling to make a compromise. I urge the community to email them.
While I recognize that the much larger concern is finding these families stable, long-term housing, this money will greatly assist them in getting back and their feet and reclaiming their independent lives.
What MEDA and I are in the process of doing is coming up with a formula that is fair to everyone affected. Likely, we'll give out an equal base amount to each family, then add a little more for exceptionally large families, or families who had extra residents living with them. Starting next week, we'll be meeting with the families and assessing their needs; as soon as we have the specifics worked out, I will post another update here.
A few other things:
I'd like to let everyone know that I'll be closing out this fund by the end of next week at the latest. It is important that we get this money to the families expediently (most have expressed a desire to have it sooner than later). So, we'll be making a final push next week.
After this fund is closed out, another will be opened with directly with MEDA, so that people will still have the option of directly donating after the fact.
As I said, I first started this campaign with a goal of raising $2,000. The community (San Francisco and beyond) has stunned me with its generosity. The families I've spoken with have trouble expressing how important this is to them -- not just the money, but the support. More than a few shed tears when they saw the number on the screen.
Lastly, as I also mentioned, if anyone would like to learn a bit more about the families involved, I'm working on a series of interviews with them that can be found here:
I'll continue to keep everyone updated. As always, please feel free to email me with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'll do my best to respond to everyone.
Great job, thank you for making it easy for people like me to do a little something while you do the big thing!! Best to you and all endeavors you undertake.
Zack, thank you for doing this and for making it easy for the community to donate.
Thanks so much for helping. I know some of the residents, and had a low cost community acupuncture business on the 2nd floor that we still have not been able to access. IF anyone knows of any spaces available that would allow me to practice acupuncture in the same vicinity, I would greatly appreciate it.
That sounds a little harsh, Scarlett. Why not just say "Thanks" and move on.
Oh Google. Thanks for donating and for advertising. You are officially "part of the community". I am not saying donating is bad, its GREAT and any person who did it is GRATEFULLY respected, I am just saying there's something called ANONYMOUS. To the Google workers wanting for the world to know they are "google workers" making a donation. There are some donating 1,000. ---anonymously --- No need to self proclaim in these difficult moments. May the world be kind, may people step forward and push a little harder to save others. Let us not become humble only when those are bleeding in-front of our eyes. Let us be compassionate not pitiful.
A drop off center has been set up at L's Cafe 2871 24th St. @ Bryant Monday to Sunday 7 to 3 PM Daily-Part of Calle 24 Latino Cultural District. Thanks to the Lozano Family!
Denise -- Yes! I noticed that too. I emailed GoFundMe, and they informed me that one of our highest donations so far, for $3,200 bounced. They weren't able to verify the donor's identity. I emailed the donor (who I'm hoping is a benevolent person who simply made a mistake), asking her to consider re-submitting her donation. Let's cross our fingers!
Wasn't there 100,424.00 last night?? Am I missing something here?
God bless you for what you are doing!! You have done such an amazing job! I was there with one of the previous tenants that night..she was so distraught and yes people just had their cameras and phones out taking pics ..you noticed the pain and I am forever grateful to you! You are a good man! Not many seem to care about the long time Mission residents. You..are an angel to these people! I stood there with Araceli as she watched all she and her 2 children had to their name burn. Words just can't capture the pain. God bless you for helping all the victims of this tragedy!
The address is 1156 Valencia st. Is where they're staying at... 1500 is the ARC another Salvation Army location... Thank you for setting this up for the families... They're very sweet and humble people...I've gotten a chance to sit down with almost all of them and the children too..
Mary, I have been in touch with, and will continue to reach out to, media outlets and major corporations -- the Giants and 49ers included! I encourage you and everyone else to do the same. Any help I can get is much appreciated! Thanks.
Hi Zack, I encourage you to reach out to the media, KTVU, NBC11, KRON, Jon Carroll at the Chronicle, etc. to gather more publicity and raise more funds. Or the SF Giants to help too. Thank you for acting on behalf of these families. This is what crowdfunding is all about.
Araceli Espinoza Our support goes to all the people who have lost everything :( as a business owner on the first floor of that building I also suffered a big loss because of the water damage :( but I don't compare my loss to those who lost their home. Thank you ZACK CROCKETT for having the initiative to start this fund which has touch many hearts :) "Thalia's Jewelry"
In terms of the socks, underwear, and clothing, what sizes are needed? And do the need men's, women's, and children's? Thanks!
Zack, what you are doing is truly amazing - I know everyone affected by the fire really appreciates it and the site gives people a chance to give financial help to these families. I think the city should hire you!
Thank you so much Zack, for having the kindness to set this up. You have incredible momentum already and it's so good to see people in our neighbourhood getting behind this! I look forward to seeing how else I can help.
Thanks for doing this. Great way to help those directly affected.
We are collecting donations at the US Bank building at 2601 Mission Street and will be there on Monday, 9am-6pm. We are coordinating our efforts with the Salvation Army (listed above) so all our donations will go to one centralized place. Please email email@example.com if you have any questions!
Thank you for the update and the amazing job of putting this together.
Anya, I hope you see this. Yes, I intend to work with a nonprofit that can get these funds directly to the families. It's an incredibly complex logistical process; I hope you can understand that! I've been meeting with families all morning, calling people at the Mayor's office, and have essentially been on the phone for 48 hours straight. Not to mention, I have a full-time job outside of this. If you have any doubts about my intentions or character, feel free to email me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org. I wouldn't have launched an effort like this if I didn't care about doing the right thing.