There’s no denying; times are tough. We live in a fragile world that’s chaotic, unpredictable, violent, unjust and heartbreaking- environmentally, economically, politically and socially. In order to maintain a much needed sense of equanimity and wholeness amidst the turbulence, we humans need safe havens and healing spaces to retreat to so as to alleviate the stress caused by life’s challenges and traumas. Ojai has been just that for millions of people-a rare and extraordinarily beautiful heaven-on-earth sort of place in which a profound sense of peace prevails.
I was first led to the “Valley of the Moon” 15 years ago during a trying time when I was in need of a reprieve. I fell in love immediately and visited often. A few years later, I attended my first yoga retreat there. When I became a teacher, it’s where I led my very first retreat. Since then, I’ve returned many times to create and hold space for others to embark on their own journey inward. Ravaged by last week’s massive and super destructive Thomas Fire, Ojai now needs our help so that she can heal.
There are many who’ve lost so much (some lost everything). Much of the land has been decimated and entire ecosystems have been destroyed, leaving a large population of wildlife seeking food, water and shelter. There currently is a great need for support and resources. For those of you who feel called to assist, I’ve put together a guide to get you started. Anything helps.
FOR OUR HUMAN FAMILY
Ojai Clothing Drive: deKor L.A. and their sister store in Ojai, deKor And Co., are sponsoring a clothing drive at their L.A. warehouse this coming Saturday, December 16th from 12-4 and Monday, December 18th from 10-5, and at their Ojai store on Monday, December 18th from 11-4. They’re accepting both new and used (but in good condition) clothing, shoes, socks, underwear, etc. for men, women and children in all sizes. L.A. location- 3005 Gilroy Street, Los Angeles, CA. 90039. The L.A. warehouse is located in Frogtown off the 5 and 2 freeways near Atwater Village/Los Feliz/Silverlake. View the map here. Ojai location- 105 S. Montgomery, Ojai, CA. 93023. View the map here. They’re hoping to have clothing available for anyone in need on Wednesday, December 20th at the Ojai store.
The Fire Recovery Network: This is a grassroots organized community network dedicated to connecting people who need help with those who can support. Join the network to share resources and services and learn how you can be of assistance. This is what’s needed most: housing assistance and emergency shelter, volunteer counseling/mental health services, volunteer medical and/or complementary health services, supplies and resources, volunteer support for injured and displaced animals, rebuilding, demo, hauling and cleaning services. Visit their website to learn more.
FOR OUR ANIMAL FRIENDS
Ojai Raptor Center: The Ojai Raptor Center is a fully functional and permitted wildlife rehabilitation center. Every year they take in 500-1000 sick, injured or orphaned birds (including many non-raptor birds, and a small percentage of mammals) with the hopes of rehabilitating them and releasing them back to the wild. Their 4 acre campus is comprised of a medical room and hospital, as well as outdoor flights, aviaries and mews. ORX is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and doesn’t receive funding from government agencies. They rely heavily on the community for donations. The majority of animal patients they receive are brought in directly from the public. They’re run by a small staff and a large group of volunteers that focus on wildlife education, animal care, transport, event support and center maintenance. Visit their Thomas Fire/Wildlife Recovery Information and Fund page here.
FOR THE LAND
Ojai Valley Land Conservancy: The Ojai Valley Land Conservancy is a community-based non-profit organization working to permanently protect the open space, natural scenic beauty, wildlife, habitat, and watershed of the Ojai Valley for current and future generations. Your donation supports the protection and restoration of open space in the Valley. The OVLC will be meeting with the Ojai Raptor Center to coordinate efforts to bring back flora and fauna to the valley. Your tax deductible donations are greatly appreciated and can be made here.
Please share this post to spread awareness and help with the recovery efforts of this sacred land for the benefit of all, and if you have any suggestions for other trustworthy sources of support and relief, feel free to post in comments.