Fires are raging in towns and forests outside of San Francisco, sweeping through the North Bay and ravaging Wine Country and all the communities that call that area home.
So far, the six fires have killed more than 20 people while destroying nearly 100,000 acres of land. 380 people are missing, and 3,500 or more homes and businesses are gone.
In the wake of the destruction that has happened in only a few days, and looks to continue through the rest of this week unless the fires are contained quickly, athletes and teams who call the Bay Area home are donating money or raising funds to help those who have lost their homes, livelihoods, and more.
Jonny Gomes, who played for more than a half dozen MLB teams in his career as well as a club in Japan, was raised in Northern California and is understandably taking the fires hard. He started a GoFundMe to raise money to help victims and included a photo of one of his old schools charred beyond recognition.
On the fundraiser’s main page, Gomes says,
I’m Major League Baseball Champion, Jonny Gomes. I’ve played professional baseball around the globe but the 707 area code of Northern California is my home. My friends are there. My family is there. I grew up playing ball in the fields and streets of Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Sonoma, Napa and beyond. That’s why you see “707” proudly displayed on my cleats. These people are my neighbors!
Now I need you to help me give back to the thousands affected by this horrific catastrophe. Kids are without homes and schools. People have nothing but the clothes on their back. My hometown is a wasteland of ash and rubble. You and I are going to change that!
The residents of these affected communities don’t need a home run from us – they need a GRAND SLAM! Give now and I will work with the people and organizations in the area to ensure that we are bringing home a win. When I identify a need I will allocate your donation swiftly, ethically and honestly. Let’s do this!
His goal is a lofty 1 million dollars, and he has already raised nearly $10,000 in just a few hours.
In addition to Gomes, seven teams that call San Francisco and the North Bay area their home are coming together to donate $450,000 to ongoing fire relief efforts. As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, each team released a small statement about the fires and their donation.
From the San Francisco 49ers:
“The North Bay fires have devastated families, homes, businesses, and schools across the region, and as first responders work tirelessly to put out the fires and aid those in need, Bay Area sports teams are unified in supporting relief efforts,” said CEO Jed York. “Although we can never replace what was lost, together we can help those impacted by the fires rebuild.”
From the Oakland A’s:
“When a tragedy hits this close to home, we feel it’s our duty to get involved and to help our community and those who have been impacted,” said President Dave Kaval. “We are proud to team up with all of the Bay Area professional sports teams to support North Bay disaster relief efforts.”
From the San Jose Earthquakes:
“The world has faced an unimaginable amount of tragedy and devastation in the past few months and the fires in the North Bay hit particularly close to home,” said President Tom Fox. “We’re happy to do our part, along with the other pro teams in the region, to help rebuild our community stronger than ever.”
From the San Francisco Giants:
“We want all the communities affected by these horrific fires to know the Giants and all of the Bay Area teams are here to support you as you recover and rebuild in the days, weeks and months ahead,” said President and CEO Larry Baer. “You are part of our family and we are holding all of you close to our hearts.”
From the Oakland Raiders:
“The Raiders family expresses our deepest concern for everyone affected by the North Bay fires,” said President Marc Badain. “The Raiders have held training camp in Napa for the past 22 seasons and have formed a strong bond with communities in Napa and Sonoma counties. The Silver and Black ask the entire Raider Nation to help spread the word on how everyone can assist the region in its recovery.”
From the San Jose Sharks:
“It is devastating to witness a region dedicated to hospitality, friendliness, and community experience such loss,” said COO John Tortora. “These are friends, family members, individuals and businesses who have a unique sense of solidarity and we generously will support relief and recovery efforts as they navigate this tragic time.”
From the Golden State Warriors:
“The North Bay is a large part of our Warriors family and we’re devastated by what they are enduring at this time,” said President and COO Rick Welts. “We are joining forces with the rest of our sports community to help relief efforts and encourage any fans who are able to help by donating as well.”