The Camp Fire was the deadliest, most destructive fire in California’s history.
With 85 people dead, over 150,000 acres burned and nearly 14,000 houses destroyed, it’s one of the most impactful disasters the state has seen in quite some time. Thousands and thousands of people have been displaced, and Northern California is still reeling from the effects.
Some are taking it upon themselves to help those who are in need, though. People across the region and across the country are stepping up with gifts of food, clothing, shelter and more. Natural disasters are terrible events, but they can sometimes bring out the best of the human spirit.
I reached out to Dalton and spoke to him for this piece, trying to get a sense of what drove him. I came away impressed. Sackcloth & Ashes makes blankets, but with a difference.
“It was inspired by my mother who lived on the street for a short period of time,” said Dalton. “Through her journey, I wound up calling my local homeless shelters and asked what they needed and they said ‘blankets’.”
Dalton answered the call with his company, founded in 2014. For every blanket purchased, they donate one to a homeless shelter in the same zip code as the purchaser.
Through hard work and innovative use of social media, they’ve managed to make a dent far beyond what Dalton could have envisioned. The moment that changed it all began with an email from Instagram.
“In November of 2014, 5 months into business, Instagram emailed me and said ‘Hey, we love what you’re doing, and we want to feature you on Instagram’s Instagram account.’ I said ‘That’s incredible. How long do I have to prepare?’ They said ‘It goes up tomorrow.’ That was the day before Black Friday.”
From that point, Sackcloth & Ashes has grown to make an impact far beyond its original mission. By 2024, their goal is to donate a million blankets to homeless shelters around the United States. With the reach they’ve achieved, it’s possible.
Sackcloth & Ashes is now moving into partnerships with other organizations, and the shocking deaths and displacements caused by the Camp Fire opened a new opportunity to help people.
Kevin Bacon’s charity Six Degrees has been helping people since 2007, using the “small world phenomenon” to connect people together. “At Six Degrees we aim to harness the kindness that connects people on this planet,” says Bacon.
“We look to people and organizations like Bob that are doing good work on the ground, and hearing about the California fires, we thought it would be a good opportunity to partner with Sackcloth and Ashes.”
The local, people-focused mentality behind both organizations makes them a natural choice to work together on a project like this. “These are just incredible partnerships where we can work with influencers, celebrities and businesses who want to make a difference on the ground level,” says Dalton. “I want to be a bridge-builder between people of influence, wealth and celebrity and the needs in their cities.”
Any purchase from SackclothandAshes.com made between January 15 and January 30 with the code SIXDEGREES will receive twenty percent off the order. But the benefit isn’t just for the customer.
“We’re going to match that savings by donating 20 percent to Six Degrees and provide a second blanket to the families that have lost their homes in the California Camp Fire,” says Dalton.
Instead of the usual donation to a homeless shelter, these blankets go specifically to the people who’ve been affected by the wildfire. It’s a win-win for both the people purchasing and the people who receive the extra blankets.
Bacon and Dalton are excited to have the chance to work together and help people in this specific way. “Let’s see if we can give a little hope and a little relief and a little comfort in the form of a blanket to those people,” says Bacon.
Dalton agrees. “We wanted to provide a benefit to the customer and to the people that have lost their homes in the California fires, where over 1 billion dollars were lost…I’m just excited to be a bridge-builder,” he says.
When it comes to recovery from natural disasters, every little bit helps, and these two organizations are trying to change things for the better.
To help give blankets to those in need, you can go to SackclothandAshes.com and purchase a blanket with the code SIXDEGREES. You can also donate to other large charitable organizations like the Red Cross, the United Way, the North Valley Community Foundation and more.