PAJARO VALLEY, CA — Community Bridges has received a donation from local berry company Driscoll’s, Inc. to support our ongoing efforts of helping Pajaro Valley residents recover from the devastating spring floods that displaced thousands of people from communities in North Monterey County and South Santa Cruz County.
Driscoll’s is a fifth-generation family-owned company headquartered in Watsonville, a short distance from where the Pajaro River Levee breached and flooded the Pajaro Valley during the recent atmospheric river that slammed California’s Central Coast. Driscoll’s contribution is one of hundreds of donations Community Bridges has received, so far, in response to the storms.
Along with these immediate gifts, promoter Live Nation recently announced Mexican pop music megastars Mana and Alejandro Fernandez will donate a portion of their proceeds for their upcoming Bay Area shows to Community Bridges. Mana plays at the SAP Center in San Jose on March 17 and the Oakland Arena on March 18. Fernandez’s show is on Sept. 9 at SAP Center.
Community Bridges is committed to being transparent in the way we will use these donations and will provide updates via our monthly newsletter, social media, and press releases. While some funds might be used to support our essential disaster case management work, we aim to provide as much direct aid to impacted families and individuals in need as possible.
“We hope our county partners will step up and fund the disaster case management work through other sources and prioritize the much-needed navigation services that get people back on their feet, in their homes, and working again. So that we can maximize our direct aid,” said Community Bridges CEO Raymon Cancino.
North Monterey County, especially the small agricultural community of Pajaro, was already impacted by the January storms that caused flooding across the Pajaro River in Watsonville and other rural neighborhoods in South Santa Cruz County. Now, many will have to reapply for another round of federal assistance if made available through the FEMA grant process.
However, some might not qualify for this federal assistance because of their documentation status, and others might not apply for the grants for fear of endangering their residency. This makes local financial assistance through private philanthropy essential to helping these members of the community recover after disasters.
In the immediate aftermath of the flood, Community Bridges activated its mobile laundry trailer to help evacuees gathered at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds. Lift Line transportation service was also activated in an emergency capacity to help evacuees attend essential medical appointments and make other essential trips. In addition, Community Bridges donated thousands of essential hygiene products to those gathered at the Fairgrounds shelter.
Now, Community Bridges is allocating more staff to La Manzana Community Resources in downtown Watsonville – one of four Family Resources Centers (FRC) across Santa Cruz County – to help respond to the increased number of families and individuals seeking assistance. This is expected to impact other FRC locations. People are asked to call ahead to check the hours of operation at Live Oak Community Resources, Nueva Vista Community Resources, and Mountain Community Resources.
Additional long-term recovery efforts include the continuation of Community Bridges FREE clean-up tool library program in which storm-impacted residents can rent cleanup items such as air movers, dehumidifiers, wet/dry vacs, carpet cleaners, push brooms, and pressure washers, at no cost. Other single-use cleanup items, such as contractor bags, gloves, sponges, and disinfectant will also be available for the community through generous support of Community Foundation Santa Cruz County, American Red Cross, and Home Depot Foundation grants.
People seeking to make monetary donations to help Pajaro Valley residents are asked to donate to the community foundations in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties. Both organizations have established storm relief funds.
To donate to the Community Foundation Santa Cruz County, visit cfscc.org/funds/disaster-fund
To donate to the Community Foundation for Monterey County, visit bit.ly/3yBEqII
People can also donate directly to Community Bridges to support our work.
To donate to Community Bridges, visit communitybridges.org/donate
Community Bridges Family Resource Collective has four locations to meet the needs of Santa Cruz County residents. Our centers in Santa Cruz, Felton, Live Oak and Watsonville create a safety net of services to meet individual and household needs. Our compassionate staff build a warm, friendly, safe place for the community to access resources that offer stability and hope for the future.