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It has been a difficult couple of weeks in Southern California. As I write this, several wildfires burn across Ventura County, just an hour south of us. It brings to memory the similar crises we have faced here in Santa Barbara, as well as the feelings of fear and loss which we have come to know all too well in the wakes of these tragedies.

I have heard it said that the character of a community is most clearly seen in a crisis, and I have found great peace and encouragement in the stories I hear of volunteers pouring out from nearby cities to bring food and water, blankets, clean clothes, sunscreen and so much more to serve those evacuated because of the Woolsey, Hill, and Camp fires. I feel a sense of great pride in our heroic firefighters who risk their lives to combat these disasters and care for those most affected by them. It is a wonderful reminder that in a day and age in which our society seems to be growing ever more separated from one another, we still come together in love and support when it matters most.

Our hearts and prayers go out to all those suffering because of the Woolsey, Hill, and Camp fires, as well as to our brave firefighters and their families. If you would like to find out how you can help, please consider visiting the American Red Cross‘ website or donating to the California Community Foundation Wildfire Relief Fund.

Skip Jankoski

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