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23ABC, local ABC affiliates to host telethon with American Red Cross for wildfire evacuees

ABC and American Red Cross raise funds for wildfire relief
Posted at 6:30 PM, Sep 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-16 23:06:26-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — There are up to 100 large fires currently burning between the states of California, Oregon, and Washington, causing hundreds of thousands of people to leave everything they hold dear, behind.

Fifteen ABC stations across these three states have partnered up with the American Red Cross to help provide relief to these families starting Thursday.

Here in central California, the Kern County Fire Department has battled the Creek fire, the Stagecoach fire, Vista Johnson fire, Bena fire, and Baker fires.
Kern County Fire Department's Andrew Freeborn says the list goes on and on.

He has firsthand witnessed the emotional and physical damage inflicted by the flames.

“They impact individuals for years to come. I recently spoke with individuals that had lost everything in the campfire in 2018. They relocated, literally coming back from the ashes as it were...and now in the most recent fires this year, losing everything again,” said Freeborn.

That’s why Thursday, 23ABC and fellow local ABC stations will be hosting The Day of Giving: A telethon to raise money for wildfire relief. Coverage will start at 4:30 a.m., but the lines will open at 4 p.m.

You can call the hotline number (866) 499-give (4483) to make a pledge or you can donate online. If you're a family being affected, you can call the Red Cross directly at 1-800-redcross and they will get you to the closest site for assistance.

“The Red Cross is one of the best organizations as far as using donor dollars actually getting in the hands of people that need it. Our overhead is very low. Over 90 cents of every dollar donated goes directly to support of the evacuations,” said Russ Huge, vice-chair, Kern County Red Cross.

Already, the American Red Cross has provided 117,000 overnight stays for families displaced from the western wildfires.

Huge says the money raised Thursday will go toward providing more meals, shelter, and medical resources for wildfire evacuees.

“We have nurses on call if people have lost their medicines. Our nurses will help them procure replacement medicines immediately if they happen to have that need,” said Huge.