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California is beginning a massive cleanup and recovery after a month of devastating wildfires.

Firefighter Trevor Smith battles the Tubbs Fire near Calistoga, California, in October. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

With 250 square miles ablaze, October 2017 was a particularly bad month for wildfires in Northern California. At least 8,400 homes have been lost, and many of the nearby businesses — including vineyards and wineries — have been damaged as well.


Charred wine barrels at Paradise Ridge Winery. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

The property damage is well over $1 billion, and at last count, 42 people lost their lives.

But though the fires were undeniably devastating, neighbors and volunteers were quick to help out. People opened up their homes to evacuees, donated supplies and cash, and even helped save and recuperate pets and animals left behind by or separated from their owners.

[rebelmouse-image 19531866 dam="1" original_size="750x500" caption="A "lost cat" poster on a telephone pole. Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images." expand=1]A "lost cat" poster on a telephone pole. Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images.

As of late October, the majority of the fires have been contained, which means the towns and cities affected by the fire will now need to begin to rebuild.

Getty photographer Justin Sullivan visited one community that had been hit by the fire. This is what he saw:

Coffey Park, a neighborhood in Santa Rosa, California, was one of the most densely populated areas affected by the Tubbs Fire in the early morning of Oct. 9.

Residents sift through the remains of their Coffey Park home. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

Entire swaths of houses have been reduced to their foundations. Chimneys stand alone like monuments.

Freestanding chimneys in a burned-down neighborhood. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

A skateboarder inadvertently created a shocking comparison video of the neighborhood before and after the fire.

The brick facade is all that remains of one particular home. Someone has scrawled its street address on the skeleton of an old tree out front.

The brick facade of a home destroyed by the Tubbs Fire. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

Residents like Renee Hernandez and her son Ben are coming back to sift through the remains of their homes.

Renee Hernandez (left) watches her son Ben (right) digging through the debris. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

Though the devastation may appear to be complete, small miracles like this figurine emerge from the ashes.

A figurine of a woman among the rubble. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

With the fires contained, people are now looking toward recovery and rebuilding.

An insurance adjuster walks through the neighborhood. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

It's going to be a big undertaking. Before the logistical nightmare of rebuilding can even begin, entire neighborhoods will need a thorough cleaning due to toxic chemicals from melted plastics and pesticide — even ammo from a ruined gun store need to be cleaned up.

Wildfires are dangerous, terrifying disasters that can wipe out entire neighborhoods in what seems like the blink of an eye. And with climate change potentially worsening this problem, we'll need to think about how we prepare and plan for these disasters.

Though cleanup and rebuilding will be tough, Coffey Park still seems to maintain a resilient spirit.

An American flag hangs in front of a ruined home. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

And at least one homeowner seems unbowed by their tragedy.

A message spray-painted on a driveway. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

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