Ventura County-based nonprofit California Strong has established a fund for the victims of the fire aboard the diving vessel Conception that took the lives of 34 people in the early morning of Sept. 2.
The organization was formed in response to the November mass shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks and the Woolsey and Hill fires that broke out hours later in East Ventura County. Operating under the Southeast Ventura County YMCA, California Strong has distributed more than $1.4 million in donations and grants to more than 650 families in the months since.
The nonprofit had just concluded disbursements for the previous disasters and hosted a fundraiser in August in anticipation of future needs, said California Strong Director Danielle Stone.
Donations go to support immediate financial needs for victims and their families, she said, including things like airfare and hotel stays while the remains are being identified.
“There are just tremendous costs associated with disasters like this,” Stone said. “The whole purpose is just to make sure these family members get a little bit of relief.”
The fund has so far raised $28,583, and donations and applications for aid will close Oct. 7. More information can be found at https://www.californiastrong.org/.