The Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC) Foundation has created a fire relief fund offering qualified recipients a check of up to $500. All students, faculty and employees of the SRJC who have been affected by the North Bay fires are eligible.
Breanne Beseda, director of marketing and communications for the SRJC Foundation said that some funds had been made available as early as Oct. 10, just two days after the fires broke out.
The relief fund has played a significant role in the lives of more than 1,000 students and employees, Beseda said, by providing them with resources to continue to pursue their career goals despite the upheaval in their lives caused by the fires.
“Supporting students so that they can stay in school is essential for recovery. They will be our future workforce, future homeowners, and families raising future generations who will be instrumental in rebuilding all that we love about this community,” Beseda said.
“SRJC was already an incredible place made up of amazing people, and in this crisis our connection grew even stronger,” Beseda said. “The way we pulled together to support our students and colleagues makes me proud to be a part of this institution.”
Ellen Maremont Silver, director of communication and marketing, said as the wildfires grew the week of Oct. 9, the SRJC maintained frequent communication with its students and staff by keeping them informed through several outlets, including via the SRJC website and emails, as well as posting regularly about the resources available to fire survivors (temporary housing, clothing, furniture, free meal locations) and an emphasis on support through the SRJC Fire Relief Fund.
Maremont Silver said that the relief fund symbolizes a sense of trust and unity that will allow everyone to be able to come together.
“In future years, there will be students and employees who did not experience this event together,” Maremont Silver said. “But the stories of the fires will be part of the SRJC story for a long time to come.”
Hilleary Zarate, SRJC student affairs manager, said the fire relief fund is an example of the many ways the SRJC has served as a disaster support resource to its communityhelping them to grow as a stronger unit if another natural disaster were to strike.
“We continue to share stories about where we were on October 9 and how we can help those who have lost things in the fire,” Zarate said. “We all know at least someone who lost everything and it is heartbreaking… People stop each other in the hallway and really want to know the answer to the question ‘how are you?’”
Since the relief fund became available, Zarate said 687 students and 61 employees have been helped by the fund.
To learn more about the SRJC Fire Relief Fund visit the website here.