Carissa Catalina, pictured hiking in the Malibu hills, helped raise more than $5,700 for Woolsey and Hill fire victims and firefighter with the help of Hermosa Beach businesses.

Carissa Catalina, pictured hiking in the Malibu hills, helped raise more than $5,700 for Woolsey and Hill fire victims and firefighter with the help of Hermosa Beach businesses.

After the Woolsey and Hill fires devastated parts of Ventura and Los Angeles County, Hermosa Beach graphic designer Carissa Catalina felt compelled to help, so she organized a fundraiser to aid those in need.

“It has been heartbreaking to see our friends in the North Bay suffer these last couple of weeks due to the devastating wildfires,” said Catalina, who was born and raised in the South Bay and opened Catalina Graphics nine years ago.

“Many have lost everything and all those affected have a long journey ahead as they work to piece together some sense of normalcy, comfort and safety.”

Catalina approached businesses in Hermosa Beach mainly on Pier and Hermosa avenues to see if they would help raise funds by donating a percentage of their sales for a certain period of time. She also approached the Hermosa Beach Chamber of Commerce to see if they could send emails to their members.

“I wanted to try to get the community of Hermosa Beach (involved),” she said.

Through a week of donations and a raffle at Watermans Restaurant in Hermosa Beach on Dec. 13, Catalina raised more than $5,750 for United Way of Greater Los Angeles Disaster Relief Fund.

Catalina was inspired in part by Dive N' Surf, which brought donations to victims and firefighters in Malibu by boat when roads remained impassable.

“We have family and friend that live in Malibu and I go there pretty much every weekend on a motorcycle ride,” Catalina said. “A lot of that stuff is gone.”

Supporters included Baja Sharkeez, Sugar Dayne, Paisanos, Source Cafe, Maison Luxe, Angel Nails & Spa, Tower 12, Watermans, Palmilla, Fritto Misto, Seymour Jewelers, Hook & Plow, the Deck, Rockefeller, Uncorked and Pita Pit.

Contact this reporter at mhixon@tbrnews.com or on Twitter @michaeljhixon.com.

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