Fallen firefighter fundraisers: Where is the money going? - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Fallen firefighter fundraisers: Where is the money going?

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Millions of dollars have been raised to help the families of the 19 firefighters who died in the Yarnell Hill Fire. It's come in the form of donations to various charities.

Groups have been holding fundraisers and businesses have been donating a percentage of their sales. But how is the money you are donating being distributed to the families?

X-treme Apparel in Phoenix is churning out t-shirts non-stop to raise funds for the families.

"One of our key sayings is from all of Arizonans to firefighters, we thank you and I think that's what everyone feels is, we can never thank you enough," says Mark Daus, X-Treme Apparel.

And a car sticker with the number 19 and angel wings.

"The town will always know what the 19 means. In a few years it will keep the spirit of the fallen firefighters alive," says Wayne Bristow, Service 1st Fire Protection.

All great ways to help.

But what you may not know is that not all of the money raised will reach the families the same way.

The 100 Club, for example, is one of the largest organizations collecting money. Many businesses have raised money and donated it there -- a total of $1.5 million so far.

But because of its tax classification -- it cannot legally hand over all of that in cash.

"The family of anyone killed in line of duty receives $15,000 within 48 hours. Each of these 19 families has already received that money," says Ciara Franklin of the 100 Club.

But there's obviously a lot more raised than that. So how will that reach the family?

"The 100 Club is going to be there for these survivors forever, we are not going to leave them after this week or month this is over."

"We will meet their needs in 20 years when they go to college, we'll meet their needs in a year to go to firefighters' memorial counseling.. going to them forever and this money will help in this fluid situation."

Individual groups and some charities can give unlimited amounts.

"Any cash they might be getting is from the community, so the community is giving to the families and there's another fund through United Phoenix Firefighters [Chase Bank account #987218757] and they can give cash directly."

In addition to the $15,000 cash per family, the 100 Club has spent more than $800,000 in other forms of help for the families' needs -- like memorials and plane tickets for extended families.

The important thing is to check with the charity or group about how they will be distributing the money.

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