In the News

More than 40 jobs at risk at Live Oak School District due to ‘budget crisis’ – February 2023, KSBW

In light of this recent news, the nonprofit Community Bridges is offering the district a solution. They’ve been renting the district-owned senior center for about 20 years, using it to operate the Meals on Wheels program. CEO Raymon Cancino says they’ve been trying to acquire it for years, but the district hasn’t budged. They think now is the perfect time as they’re offering them $2.4 million.

Community Bridges puts senior center purchase offer on table – February 2023, Santa Cruz Sentinel

Meals on Wheels for Santa Cruz County, a program from Watsonville-based nonprofit Community Bridges, announced in a recent release that it has submitted a letter of intent to the Live Oak School District to purchase the Elena Baskin Live Oak Senior Center at 1777 Capitola Road for $2.4 million.

How Community Bridges’ Family Resource Collective is partnering to break the cycle of evictions – February 2023, Lookout Santa Cruz

One of our flagship initiatives, the Eviction Defense Collaborative, exemplifies our commitment to addressing pressing community challenges. This collaborative effort, formed during the COVID-19 Pandemic, aims to disrupt the cycle of evictions affecting countless local families. In partnership with Tenant Sanctuary, Senior Legal Services, and the Conflict Resolution Center of Santa Cruz County, we provide essential support to tenants and landlords facing eviction crises.

New program offers dental care, hygiene kits to seniors – January 2023, The Pajaronian

Eventually, 16,000 dental hygiene kits—donated by Delta Dental—will be distributed through Grey Bears and Meals on Wheels. The kits—along with a monthly dental clinic at the Mid-County site—are part of a new partnership with sliding scale fees by Dientes Community Dental Care in a program created to bring the essential service to low-income seniors. Monthly dental clinics will also be offered at Elderday in Watsonville.

Learning Lessons From Last Year’s Flood, Pajaro Valley Prepares with Workshop – January 2023

Aprendiendo las lecciones del pasado con las inundaciones y buscando estar mejor preparados, residentes de Pajaro asistieron a un taller para saber qué hacer antes de que lleguen las proximas lluvias.

Pajaro community asked be prepared for another flood in the coming years – KSBW, January 2023

“People in Pajaro live in a flood plain, meaning that it’s going to flood and the question of when that is, that’s something that we don’t know when that’s gonna happen but the reality is that the current levee system has been built and is fundamentally going to break down again,” says Ray Cancino, CEO of Community Bridges.

Meals on Wheels Fundraiser Returns – Aptos Times, January 2023 

A program of Community Bridges, Meals on Wheels for Santa Cruz County relies on private donations as government funding as lagged, with 2023 nearly identical to 2010, creating a shortfall.

Santa Cruz County rolls out Medi-Cal for undocumented residents – KSBW, January 2023 

Groups like Community Bridges are assisting the county to spread the word. Community Bridges CEO Raymon Cancino says this is a critical step that benefits a deserving community and, in turn, the entire population. “Really take care of those individuals that are a part of our community that are working in our community and are contributing. They might not be full citizens at this point, but they’re getting to the steps to get there, and this is one of those steps to help support them in a big way, especially if they have medical ailments.”

Monterey County flood response bolstered – Monterey Herald, December 2023 

In its simplest role, the COAD would be a communications and coordination effort with the nonprofits that can help during and after a disaster. Raymon Cancino, the chief executive of Watsonville-based Community Bridges, said the benefit of nonprofit organizations is that they are not hampered by a rigid chain of command and can be more flexible in getting aid to those in greatest need.

Writers raise funds, encourage advocacy for Pajaro flood victims – Santa Cruz Sentinel, December 2023

Bookshop Santa Cruz, in conjunction with the UC Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology and with support from the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, hosted Pajaro Rising, which brought together four writers and a radio host to the Cowell Ranch Hay Barn with proceeds going toward Community Bridges, a Watsonville-based nonprofit that has provided numerous services to those impacted by the flood.

Evictions loom for 14 Pajaro families – The Pajaronian, December 2023

Residents reached out to local organizations in hopes of getting assistance to relocate, and Community Bridges has stepped in to help. After starting a GoFundMe for those affected earlier this month, it has raised more than $63,000 with the help of the Community Foundation of Monterey County and individual donors. Community Bridges is a Watsonville-based nonprofit that helps with food and healthcare access throughout Santa Cruz County.

Empowering 22,000 vulnerable residents: Help deliver essential services to older adults, children & families – Lookout Santa Cruz, November 2023

Community Bridges has remained at the forefront of delivering essential services and critical resources, and providing swift responses during times of crisis, and this has only been possible thanks to your extraordinary generosity and support. As we embark on our 47th year of helping support and uplift local children, mothers, fathers, and older adults, we find ourselves profoundly humbled by your steadfast willingness to help your neighbors in their times of need.

Community Bridges raises more than $60K for Pajaro families facing evictions – Santa Cruz Sentinel, November 2023

On Nov. 10, Watsonville-based nonprofit Community Bridges set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise $100,000 for families who were issued a notice of termination to vacate an apartment complex in Pajaro within 60 days, or take an offer to receive a payment of up to two months’ rent to leave by Nov. 20, as the owners work to address issues with the property.

Dozens of Pajaro residents facing eviction during the holiday season organize and fundraise – Monterey County Weekly, November 2023

Community Bridges has raised $63,000 to help the tenants with rent, deposits or hotels. That includes a $50,000 grant from the Community Foundation for Monterey County, and $13,000 from over 100 donors via a GoFundMe campaign.

Reading For Flood Victims – Good Times, November 2023

Local literary heavyweights are coming together for Pajaro Rising, a fundraiser that puts the spotlight on those still dealing with the aftermath of the Pajaro floods. The event will take place Nov. 30 at the Cowell Hay Barn on the UCSC campus and all proceeds will go to Community Bridges, one of the main nonprofits helping with relief and recovery.

Decenas de familias desalojadas en la comunidad de Pájaro en el condado Monterey – Telemundo 48, November 2023

La organización Puentes de la comunidad ha estado apoyando a los afectados. “Lo que él quiere hacer es hacer bodegas, pero también dijo que está dispuesto a vender y nosotros a comprar, pero la pregunta es cuánto”, indicó Ramón Cancino, director ejecutivo de Community Bridges.

Familias en Pájaro pasan los últimos días en labores de mudanza antes de cumplir con orden de desalojo – Telemundo 23, November 2023

Tras la inspección de salubridad a una sola vivienda en Pájaro. El condado de Monterey se alertó de una comunidad ilegalmente modificada. Esto sucedió a finales de septiembre, pero un mes después más de 20 familias recibieron una orden de desalojo por parte del propietario.

Community Bridges assists Pajaro families facing eviction – Santa Cruz Sentinel, November 2023

In the wake of approximately 24 families facing evictions from a Pajaro apartment complex as the property’s owners prepare to work through violations cited by Monterey County, Watsonville-based nonprofit Community Bridges has intervened to assist those families. 

Transforming Santa Cruz County’s transportation landscape: Lift Line’s mission to bridge gaps – Lookout Santa Cruz, November 2023

Santa Cruz County is renowned for its stunning landscapes and vibrant communities, but beneath the scenic beauty lies a challenge that often goes unnoticed: access to transportation. Lift Line is tirelessly working to close the transportation gap for low-income older adults and individuals with disabilities, aiming to help make Santa Cruz County the most accessible county in California.

Community Bridges steps in to help victims of a mass eviction in Pajaro – KSBW, November 2023

The nonprofit Community Bridges has stepped in to help some people impacted by a mass eviction in Pajaro, after their apartment complex’s landlord, Rose Rentals LLC, was caught operating unlawful and unsafe housing. Now, upwards of about 50 tenants must leave before the holidays. Advertisement “To ask people to move out during the holidays is such a cruel act,” Community Bridges CEO Ray Cancino said.

Elderday Grand Opening: New Watsonville Center Welcomes Volunteers – Aptos Times, November 2023

On Oct. 12, Elderday hosted a grand opening for its big, new location at 501 Main St. in downtown Watsonville, giving more seniors a place to socialize and stay healthy while living in their own homes for as long as possible. The festivities included naming a room in honor of Majel Jordan, who founded Elderday in 1981.

Writers to host benefit for Pajaro flood survivors – Santa Cruz Sentinel, November 2023

In the nearly eight months since the breach of the Pajaro River levee yielded extensive flooding and displacement of residents in the community of Pajaro, the event has inspired different forms of activism from rallies to forums on its wider impact and how people can take action. On Nov. 30, an event at UC Santa Cruz will take on a more literary approach. The university, in conjunction with Bookshop Santa Cruz, will host Pajaro Rising, an event featuring five writers sharing literary insights on the disaster and raising funds for Community Bridges.

Top 10 ways to volunteer and help fight hunger this November in Santa Cruz County – Lookout Santa Cruz, November 2023

This month, the Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County has compiled a list of 10 organizations who could use your time and expertise to fight hunger in our community. Many of these organizations have multiple volunteer jobs that need to be filled and love to work with groups. Consider giving a day of service with your colleagues, family, or friends this holiday season.

Live Oak School District, seniors services clash over ‘illegal’ requirement to support teacher housing bond – Lookout Santa Cruz, October 2023

The parties have been in negotiations on extending a lease since then, and by last month appeared to be close to a two-year lease agreement, said Tony Nuñez, spokesperson for Community Bridges, a local nonprofit that runs Meals on Wheels. But then, he said, the district added a requirement to the lease that the seniors organizations publicly endorse the district’s planned teacher housing bond.

Unlocking hope: Elderday Adult Day Health Care’s grand opening marks a milestone in Santa Cruz County – Lookout Santa Cruz, October 2023

Since its establishment in 1981, Elderday has been a lifeline for countless older adults, offering a wide range of crucial services. These services include nursing care, physical and occupational therapies, access to mental health resources, therapeutic activities, nutritious meals, and regular social interaction. The core mission of Elderday has always revolved around the well-being of vulnerable older adults, aiming to help them live in their own homes and lead fulfilling lives.

Community Bridges celebrates opening of new Elderday center – Santa Cruz Sentinel, October 2023

“I am so incredibly grateful for today as we gather here for a truly momentous occasion that encapsulates the very essence of our community’s compassion, dedication and the power of working together,” said Community Bridges CEO Ray Cancino. “It’s with immense pride and joy that we are here to celebrate the grand opening of the new state-of-the-art facility for Elderday Adult Day Health Care.”

Mountain Affair to honor longtime food pantry volunteer – Press Banner, October 2023

Longtime food pantry volunteer Shelley Young will receive the Green Heart Award at the 38th annual Mountain Affair benefiting Mountain Community Resources. The fundraiser event will be held Friday, Oct. 20, from 5-9pm at Ristorante Casa Nostra in Ben Lomond. Named for Mary Hammer, one of Mountain Community Resources founders, the Green Heart Award honors individuals supporting the Community Bridges program.

Elderday unveils its new senior day center – The Pajaronian, October 2023

After more than a year of construction, Community Bridges cut the ribbon on its newly relocated Elderday Adult Day Health Care center, which offers a host of medical, social and nutritional services for older adults and people with disabilities. The addition adjacent to Community Bridges’ Watsonville Headquarters at 519 Main St. “signifies the profound impact of both the sustainability of the program, and the health and wellbeing of our beloved older adults in our entire Central Coast,” said CEO Raymon Cancino.

Pajaro Flood Victims Still Rebuilding – Good Times, October 2023

Tony Nuñez, the communications manager for Community Bridges, says that many of the families who are still reaching out for help need assistance paying rent or buying groceries. “A lot of people were living paycheck to paycheck during this and something like [the floods] completely depleted all of their savings,” Nuñez-Palomino says. 

Five UC Santa Cruz projects awarded grant funding to tackle climate change challenges – Lookout Santa Cruz, October 2023

Together with community partners—including Community Bridges, the Monterey Bay Central Labor Council, and the Santa Cruz County Office of Response, Recovery & Resilience—research teams will study what’s driving migration to the WUI, from affordability pressures to lifestyle choices; the demographics of this migration; and resulting dynamics, like growing commute sheds and vulnerability to hazards.

5 Amazing Volunteer Organizations In Watsonville – Patch, October 2023

Community Bridges: With 10 program options, this organization connects community members with essential services for children, families and seniors. Community Bridges offers programs that increase access to transportation, nutritional food, healthcare and more. Volunteers can support this organization in several ways, including by delivering meals to seniors, leading a program activity or assisting in the office. Learn more at 

Medi-Cal rules prompt enrollment drop in Santa Cruz County – Santa Cruz Local, October 2023

From June through July of this year, 11,415 Santa Cruz County Medi-Cal patients were due for re-enrollment, according to data from the California Department of Health Care Services. Many former Medi-Cal patients may not have known about the re-enrollment process, said Ray Cancino, CEO of the Santa Cruz County-based nonprofit group Community Bridges. He said he was especially concerned about people who joined during the past three years, including people without legal residency.

Decades of dedication: Lisa Berkowitz’s lifelong commitment to Meals on Wheels – Lookout Santa Cruz, September 2023

Lisa, the heart and soul of Meals on Wheels for Santa Cruz County almost since its inception, recently completed a remarkable 44-year career with this essential social service safety net program, and is handing the reins to Darren Daley, a community-minded leader with a decade of community development experience in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors who joined Community Bridges in June.

Slow recovery continues after Pajaro flood – Santa Cruz Local, September 2023 

Operating throughout Santa Cruz County, Community Bridges splits the caseload of Pajaro residents with Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Monterey. They have side-by-side offices in the Pajaro recovery center. 

Six months after levee breach, Pajaro residents face difficult road ahead – KAZU, September 2023

Community Bridges has helped residents navigate FEMA appeals, file insurance claims, and locate housing options. In addition to the high cost of living, the agricultural fields surrounding Pajaro were damaged. 

Community Bridges readies for Lift Line service expansion – Santa Cruz Sentinel, September 2023

Community Bridges’ Lift Line program is about to get a big lift of its own. The Lift Line Access for All service launching later this month will offer door-to-door transportation for all county residents with disabilities to any destination within Santa Cruz County at a flat-rate fee of $5. Income-eligible older adults and people with disabilities currently using the already existing Lift Line program can continue to do so at no cost.

Pajaro levee repairs underway but questions remain – KSBW, August 2023

“It’s really hard though because these families have to start from zero again their savings that they might have taken 10-15 years to put together was probably wiped out because they used it in the last flood,” said Ray Cancino, CEO of Community Bridges, an organization that played a key role in getting flood victims connected with resources and services.

Months after Pajaro flood, repair crews race against winter rain – Santa Cruz Local, August 2023

As the shelter program ends, Monterey County leaders continue to work with Catholic Charities and Community Bridges to connect displaced people with housing vouchers and money, according to a statement from the Monterey County Department of Emergency Management.

Kaiser Permanente offers emergency financial assistance to the town of Pajaro after a flooding disaster in Monterey County – Look insideKP, August 2023

Community Bridges, a local nonprofit social services agency, has been a major player in the recovery effort. The nonprofit received a $90,000 grant from Kaiser Permanente for bilingual case management, so it could continue to help families like the Sosas. Additionally, Kaiser Permanente employees in San Jose, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz donated a total of $7,000, which the organization matched, bringing total support to $104,000. 

Monterey County looks at a long-term recovery planning committee to rebuild Pajaro – KSBW, August 2023

Community Bridges is one of the organizations helping flood victims. Since March, they have given out more than $1.2 million in grants to those affected and said they still have funds available. “People are still trickling in for the initial 500-dollar grant, so that’s great. We’ve been doing a lot of outreach and advertising that funds are still available.” 

Community Bridges seeks to dispel myths surrounding food assistance in Santa Cruz County – Good Times, July 2023

The WIC Community Innovation and Outreach Project (WIC CIAO) grant is awarded to 36 programs nationwide and the WIC program here is one of its distinguished recipients. The award is given to organizations involved in efforts to develop innovative outreach strategies to boost awareness and participation in the program.

Santa Cruz County is graying and the impending silver tsunami has service providers worried – Lookout Santa Cruz, July 2023

Mark Johannessen, a local attorney who sits on the county’s Seniors Commission, said the space is where Meals on Wheels — a lifeline for low-income seniors — prepares all of its food. Without that building, Johannessen said there “is no other place for Meals on Wheels to prepare their food.” He said the sides are still negotiating a potential long-term lease.

Global nonprofit leader named new Santa Cruz County Meals on Wheels director – Santa Cruz Sentinel, July 2023

More than a decade of community development experience in different sectors both locally and abroad has brought Darren Daley back to the Central Coast, where he was recently named as the director of Meals on Wheels for Santa Cruz County.

County’s storm aid program has doled out over $450K to hundreds of households – Monterey County Weekly, July 2023

Per county guidelines, nonprofits were required to disburse their first phase of funds by the end of the fiscal year, on June 30. On United Way’s side, Community Bridges distributed more than $170,000 to residents while Door to Hope gave out nearly $38,000; that money went to more than 330 households, with the majority (around 270) located in the Pajaro area. Catholic Charities disbursed over $248,000 to more than 350 households.

Community Bridges opens temporary resource center in Pajaro – The Pajaronian, July 2023

Community Bridges and Catholic Charities Diocese of Monterey have teamed up to open a satellite resource center in Pajaro to provide disaster services for families recovering from the floods that inundated the region earlier this year.  

From Soquel to Pajaro, fundraisers put the focus on farms, farmworkers – Lookout Santa Cruz, July 2023

On July 30, Community Bridges’ Farm to Fork Gala returns for its eighth year, and for the first time the Santa Cruz County nonprofit is partnering with Wines of the Santa Cruz Mountains, an organization that promotes wines and wineries in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Quick Bites | Farm to Fork dinner supports Pajaro Valley farmers and farmworkers – Santa Cruz Sentinel, July 2023 

The Community Bridges Farm to Fork Gala, 4-8 p.m. July 30 at 417 Salinas Road, is raising financial relief funds for local farmers and farmworkers affected by this year’s storms and floods.

Farm to Fork Gala to benefit flood-impacted farmers – The Pajaronian, July 2023

Community Bridges’ annual Farm to Fork Gala is back for its eighth year, and this year the Santa Cruz County nonprofit has teamed up with the Wines of the Santa Cruz Mountains to help raise financial relief funds for farmers and farmworkers affected by this year’s storms and floods in the Pajaro Valley, with a portion of the proceeds helping support Community Bridges’ family of 10 programs.

Community Bridges opens temporary resource center in Pajaro – Santa Cruz Sentinel, July 2023

With a need for impacted residents to have financial assistance and other resources, and with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s temporary shelter services in Monterey County set to expire July 31, Community Bridges wants to ensure that those affected by the flood have the tools they need to sustain the impacts over the long term. The local nonprofit has partnered with the Catholic Charities Diocese of Monterey to establish a temporary resource center on Porter Drive.

Federal grant funds Santa Cruz County WIC outreach to immigrants and farmworkers – Lookout Santa Cruz, July 2023

In a momentous move to recognize and support their innovative, grassroots outreach the federal government has bestowed a generous grant upon Community Bridge’s Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program. Selected as one of only 36 programs nationwide, and one of two in California, Community Bridges’ WIC program emerged victorious in the highly competitive WIC Community Innovation and Outreach Project (WIC CIAO) funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service.

Temporary resource center opens in Pajaro to help residents affected by the flood. – Monterey County Weekly, July 2023 

To help the families who were affected and displaced during the storms, two nonprofits—Community Bridges, a Watsonville organization that has been at the forefront of aiding Pajaro residents, and Catholic Charities for the Diocese of Monterey—have teamed up to provide services for Pajaro residents.

Piecemeal approach to Pajaro aid leaves farmworkers, community straining to move forward – Lookout Santa Cruz, April 2023

Community Bridges spokesperson Tony Nuñez said the organization has distributed more than $650,000 to families and has also been helping affected residents apply for FEMA aid.

Local Nonprofits: First on the Scene in Pajaro, and There to Stay – California Local, April 2023

Community Bridges, a local organization with resource centers across Santa Cruz County, and one of the largest recipients of aid from both community foundations, has distributed $550,000 in cash aid to more than 1,500 Pajaro residents since the levee failed. Tony Nuñez, communications manager for Community Bridges, says they had staff at the evacuation site within hours of the levee’s failure.

US DOT Announces First Thriving Communities Program Grants – Streets Blog, April 2023

In Watsonville, the Santa Cruz Regional Transportation Commission, Community Bridges, and the city of Watsonville will prepare an equity analysis of the existing transportation network in Watsonville. The local partners will develop a set of road safety and context sensitive design solutions, including road diets on state highways, a trail network, and the deployment of electric vehicle charging facilities in low-income neighborhoods.

Residentes de Pájaro afectados por las inundaciones recibirán ayuda de $500 – Telemundo 48, April 2023

La organización dice que cuenta con $300,000 para repartir y que, de ellos, $55,000 fueron donados por el grupo mexicano de rock Maná, a través de sus recientes conciertos en San José y Oakland.

California floods put migrant community especially at risk, advocates fear – ABC News, April 2023

Pajaro is an unincorporated community that sits about 90 miles south of San Francisco. It is 92% Hispanic and slightly more than 18% of the 3,000 residents live under the poverty line, according to one estimate. “I see my grandfather in a lot of these older workers. It hurts me when people fail to recognize their hard work, their humility,” said Ray Cancino, CEO of Community Bridges, a nonprofit that is helping the flood victims.

Community Bridges is committed to transparency and equity – The Pajaronian, April 2023

At the same time, Community Bridges has been determined to ensure that 100% of the funds donated to our Pajaro Storm Relief fund will be used as hundreds of donors envisioned: direct financial relief for Pajaro residents. We have partnered with Community Foundations of Santa Cruz and Monterey counties and other local foundations to make that vision a reality.

Storm-impacted CA communities could receive long-awaited FEMA help – ABC 7, April 2023

“Monterey County and also more specifically Pajaro has a fairly high incidence of undocumented individuals living in that community,” said Raymon Cancino, CEO of local nonprofit Community Bridges, “Which means that a lot of the folks are not going to be eligible for FEMA support.”

“Now the people who were living paycheck to paycheck are in several thousand dollars of debt and will incur several thousand more just to try to rebuild, just to clean up period,” said Tony Nunez. He is with Community Bridges, a nonprofit assisting with disaster recovery. “There’s no way to describe it other than a humanitarian crisis.”



Piecemeal approach to Pajaro aid leaves farmworkers, community straining to move forward – Lookout Santa Cruz, April 2023

Community Bridges spokesperson Tony Nuñez said the organization has distributed more than $650,000 to families and has also been helping affected residents apply for FEMA aid.

Local Nonprofits: First on the Scene in Pajaro, and There to Stay – California Local, April 2023

Community Bridges, a local organization with resource centers across Santa Cruz County, and one of the largest recipients of aid from both community foundations, has distributed $550,000 in cash aid to more than 1,500 Pajaro residents since the levee failed. Tony Nuñez, communications manager for Community Bridges, says they had staff at the evacuation site within hours of the levee’s failure.

US DOT Announces First Thriving Communities Program Grants – Streets Blog, April 2023

In Watsonville, the Santa Cruz Regional Transportation Commission, Community Bridges, and the city of Watsonville will prepare an equity analysis of the existing transportation network in Watsonville. The local partners will develop a set of road safety and context sensitive design solutions, including road diets on state highways, a trail network, and the deployment of electric vehicle charging facilities in low-income neighborhoods.

Residentes de Pájaro afectados por las inundaciones recibirán ayuda de $500 – Telemundo 48, April 2023

La organización dice que cuenta con $300,000 para repartir y que, de ellos, $55,000 fueron donados por el grupo mexicano de rock Maná, a través de sus recientes conciertos en San José y Oakland.

California floods put migrant community especially at risk, advocates fear – ABC News, April 2023

Pajaro is an unincorporated community that sits about 90 miles south of San Francisco. It is 92% Hispanic and slightly more than 18% of the 3,000 residents live under the poverty line, according to one estimate. “I see my grandfather in a lot of these older workers. It hurts me when people fail to recognize their hard work, their humility,” said Ray Cancino, CEO of Community Bridges, a nonprofit that is helping the flood victims.

Community Bridges is committed to transparency and equity – The Pajaronian, April 2023

At the same time, Community Bridges has been determined to ensure that 100% of the funds donated to our Pajaro Storm Relief fund will be used as hundreds of donors envisioned: direct financial relief for Pajaro residents. We have partnered with Community Foundations of Santa Cruz and Monterey counties and other local foundations to make that vision a reality.

Storm-impacted CA communities could receive long-awaited FEMA help – ABC 7, April 2023

“Monterey County and also more specifically Pajaro has a fairly high incidence of undocumented individuals living in that community,” said Raymon Cancino, CEO of local nonprofit Community Bridges, “Which means that a lot of the folks are not going to be eligible for FEMA support.”

“Now the people who were living paycheck to paycheck are in several thousand dollars of debt and will incur several thousand more just to try to rebuild, just to clean up period,” said Tony Nunez. He is with Community Bridges, a nonprofit assisting with disaster recovery. “There’s no way to describe it other than a humanitarian crisis.”



Piecemeal approach to Pajaro aid leaves farmworkers, community straining to move forward – Lookout Santa Cruz, April 2023

Community Bridges spokesperson Tony Nuñez said the organization has distributed more than $650,000 to families and has also been helping affected residents apply for FEMA aid.

Local Nonprofits: First on the Scene in Pajaro, and There to Stay – California Local, April 2023

Community Bridges, a local organization with resource centers across Santa Cruz County, and one of the largest recipients of aid from both community foundations, has distributed $550,000 in cash aid to more than 1,500 Pajaro residents since the levee failed. Tony Nuñez, communications manager for Community Bridges, says they had staff at the evacuation site within hours of the levee’s failure.

US DOT Announces First Thriving Communities Program Grants – Streets Blog, April 2023

In Watsonville, the Santa Cruz Regional Transportation Commission, Community Bridges, and the city of Watsonville will prepare an equity analysis of the existing transportation network in Watsonville. The local partners will develop a set of road safety and context sensitive design solutions, including road diets on state highways, a trail network, and the deployment of electric vehicle charging facilities in low-income neighborhoods.

Residentes de Pájaro afectados por las inundaciones recibirán ayuda de $500 – Telemundo 48, April 2023

La organización dice que cuenta con $300,000 para repartir y que, de ellos, $55,000 fueron donados por el grupo mexicano de rock Maná, a través de sus recientes conciertos en San José y Oakland.

California floods put migrant community especially at risk, advocates fear – ABC News, April 2023

Pajaro is an unincorporated community that sits about 90 miles south of San Francisco. It is 92% Hispanic and slightly more than 18% of the 3,000 residents live under the poverty line, according to one estimate. “I see my grandfather in a lot of these older workers. It hurts me when people fail to recognize their hard work, their humility,” said Ray Cancino, CEO of Community Bridges, a nonprofit that is helping the flood victims.

Community Bridges is committed to transparency and equity – The Pajaronian, April 2023

At the same time, Community Bridges has been determined to ensure that 100% of the funds donated to our Pajaro Storm Relief fund will be used as hundreds of donors envisioned: direct financial relief for Pajaro residents. We have partnered with Community Foundations of Santa Cruz and Monterey counties and other local foundations to make that vision a reality.

Storm-impacted CA communities could receive long-awaited FEMA help – ABC 7, April 2023

“Monterey County and also more specifically Pajaro has a fairly high incidence of undocumented individuals living in that community,” said Raymon Cancino, CEO of local nonprofit Community Bridges, “Which means that a lot of the folks are not going to be eligible for FEMA support.”

“Now the people who were living paycheck to paycheck are in several thousand dollars of debt and will incur several thousand more just to try to rebuild, just to clean up period,” said Tony Nunez. He is with Community Bridges, a nonprofit assisting with disaster recovery. “There’s no way to describe it other than a humanitarian crisis.”



They grow America’s strawberries. A vicious flood made them climate migrants – The Guardian, March 2023

The flooding in Pajaro will deepen the housing crisis, said Cancino of Community Bridges. “We could be looking at gentrification, relocation and displacement,” he said. “Some people may end up returning to their home countries. And they might not come back.”

Taylor Farms and Driscoll’s partner up to donate $2M in disaster relief funds – KSBW, March 2023

Driscoll’s said they also raised more than $1 million in relief funds which include direct donations to Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes, the Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Cruz County, Community Bridges, the Santa Cruz County Community Foundation and the Casa De La Cultura Center.

Guest Commentary | Pajaro floods: Community groups step up – Santa Cruz Sentinel, March 2023

There is much work ahead. We’ll need to coordinate clean up, support repairs, help families decide between salvage or total loss, and hold tenant and legal rights workshops. Meanwhile, we continue to support families through this same process in the San Lorenzo Valley, Soquel, Capitola, and Watsonville from the ongoing storms.

Why wasn’t FEMA on the ground in Pajaro after the floods? – Monterey County Weekly, March 2023

“We can’t wait for federal and state dollars to come in and provide these services,” says Community Bridges CEO Raymon Cancino, whose Watsonville-based nonprofit is providing direct financial support and other aid to impacted locals. “The short answer is that it takes a long time for the federal government to show up.”

In lieu of government support, local nonprofits step up relief efforts in Pajaro – Monterey County Weekly, March 2023

Among such groups is Community Bridges, the Watsonville-based nonprofit predominantly serving Santa Cruz County but also active in North Monterey County. Community Bridges CEO Raymon Cancino notes that Pajaro’s location on the border of Monterey and Santa Cruz counties places Pajaro residents in an awkward position as far as public services are concerned – making them even more reliant on organizations like his.

Popular Latin pop rock band helps Pajaro Valley flood victims – KTVU, March 2023

Mana performed Friday night at the SAP Center. The band is donating a portion of the proceeds to go toward relief efforts, as they said they want to use their music to help flood victims.

Maná and Alejandro Fernández for a Good Cause – Billboard, March 2023

Alejandro Fernández and Maná have joined forces to support the victims of the recent flooding in Northern California’s Pajaro Valley. Partnering with Live Nation, the Mexican acts will be donating a portion of the proceeds from their forthcoming Bay Area shows to the Community Bridges organization.

Community Bridges receives donation from Driscoll’s – Santa Cruz Sentinel, March 2023

Community Bridges, a Watsonville-based nonprofit that provides services to the community year-round, has been especially busy lately. In the wake of the floods that have resulted in evacuations throughout northern Monterey County and southern Santa Cruz County, the agency has received hundreds of donations from throughout the region and beyond, including one local but nationally known fruit company.

Pajaro Valley flood victims in desperate need of help – KTVU, March 2023

Community Bridges CEO Raymon Cancino urged the governor to work with local lawmakers, that each family should get an additional $1,500 to help them get back on their feet.  

El ‘corazón abierto’ de Alejandro Fernández y Maná llegará a los afectados por las tormentas en California – Los Angeles Times, March 2023

Alejandro Fernández y los integrantes de la agrupación Maná han decidido abrir su corazón para apoyar económicamente a los afectados en el área de Pajaro Valley debido a las fuertes lluvias que han caído en los últimos días en el norte de California.

Pajaro flood relief workers call out Newsom, say aid is old money: ‘It’s a slap in the face’ – San Francisco Chronicle, March 2023 

California storm relief workers on Thursday criticized Gov. Gavin Newsom for announcing during a recent news conference in response to the Pajaro flooding disaster that farmworkers would receive $600 checks, calling that statement a misrepresentation of money that was allocated last year for COVID-19 pandemic relief.

Pajaro levee breach: Newsom urged to provide aid for those left out of relief – San Francisco Chronicle, March 2023

Monterey County officials on Wednesday urged Gov. Gavin Newsom to provide disaster relief for undocumented residents and farmworkers in the town of Pajaro in the aftermath of “life-threatening” flooding from a levee breach on the Pajaro River last weekend. Undocumented residents and farmworkers, many of whom are immigrants and low-income, do not have access to federal aid or fear requesting assistance due to their immigration status, county officials and advocates say.

Mexican pop stars join forces in support of Pajaro Valley relief efforts – The Mercury News, March 2023

Mexican pop music megastars Mana and Alejandro Fernandez — two acts whose combined worldwide album sales clock in at well over 50 million — are joining forces with promoter Live Nation to aid Pajaro Valley flood victims. Both artists will be donating a portion of their upcoming Bay Area shows to Community Bridges.

Relief arrives for flooded California community – FOX Weather, March 2023

Community Bridges CEO Ray Cancino on helping residents impacted by major flooding in Pajaro, California. 

Pajaro River levee breach severely impacts residents – KTVU, March 2023

The amount of damage from the Pajaro River levee breach is still escalating as another storm surge hits California. Chief Executive Officer of Community Bridges in Watsonville, Ray Cancino, joins us to give a first-hand account of this dire situation. 

Agencies pitch in to help evacuees following flooding in Pajaro Valley – Santa Cruz Sentinel, March 2023

Tony Nunez, marketing and communications manager for Community Bridges, wrote via email that most of the nonprofit’s storm-related efforts are focused around South County but was also preparing to address Tuesday’s storms that are expected to impact the northern part of the county and the older adult neighborhoods in Watsonville near the levee. One of the first things it did was deploy its mobile laundry trailer to provide evacuees access to washers and dryers, complete with detergent.

Santa Cruz County CalFresh, Medi-Cal recipients to see less money, more paperwork – Santa Cruz Local, March 2023

About 31,000 Santa Cruz County residents who receive food money through CalFresh are expected to receive fewer dollars in April when a pandemic related program expires. Nearly 86,000 county residents on Medi-Cal health insurance also must renew their coverage starting in June.

Volunteers wanted as Meals on Wheels prepares for next phase – Santa Cruz Local, March 2023

Meals on Wheels of Santa Cruz County is hosting its 10th annual Food for the Heart luncheon fundraiser next week, which comes as the organization faces relocation and a shortage of volunteers. Run by Community Bridges, the program has been serving meals to older adults in the county for almost 50 years — with over 10 million meals served during that time.

Eviction decision tabled for Meals on Wheels – The Pajaronian, February 2023

The Live Oak School District (LOSD) Board of Trustees on Wednesday tabled a decision of whether to enforce an eviction notice to the senior programs using their building in Live Oak. But LOSD has announced its intentions to build teacher housing at the site, and last year gave the organizations a June eviction notice. The delay will allow the board to consider the possibility of including the senior services organization in future development plans.

Se desconoce el futuro de la sede de Meals on Wheels – Noticias Ya Costa Central, February 2023 

Se desconoce el futuro de un centro que brinda recursos a personas mayores en Live Oak. Adriana Frederick Sutton explica qué situación podría afectar las comidas que reciben decenas de adultos mayores.

Comida sobre Ruedas de Santa Cruz podría reubicarse – Telemundo, February 2023

Los servicios de comida de Santa Cruz, Comida sobre Ruedas, una organizacion sin fines de lucro que atienden adultos, que opera por Fuentes Comunitarios, podrían terminarse en la ubicación de la sede, algo que le preocupa a muchos adultos.

Live Oak School District board will vote to evict Meals on Wheels – Santa Cruz Sentinel, February 2023

“After ongoing conversations and communications with the Live Oak School District, they put something on their meeting agenda without communicating it to us,” said Community Bridges CEO Ray Cancino. “We were all caught off guard, especially without any future plan or project.”

Live Oak School District to decide fate of senior programs – The Pajaronian, February 2023 

“We know this is not a permanent location,” says Community Bridges CEO Ray Cancino. “We know that we have not been wanted, yet I think there is a reality that we have only asked for one thing, which is more time. More time for us to make the right decision in choosing the right location and investing in the right program”

Changes proposed to Women, Infants and Children program – The Pajaronian, February 2023 

Santa Cruz County’s WIC program is overseen by Community Bridges. “I am super excited about the proposed changes to the WIC Food Package,” said Santa Cruz County WIC Director Dana Wagner. “There is more variety and healthier food options for families. These changes would allow low-income families to purchase high quality foods that might not normally be available to them. It is a huge win.”

Community Bridges recibe medio millón de dólares para ampliar los servicios para personas mayores – Noticias Ya Costa Central, February 2023

El dinero servira para extender los programas y poder tener mas trabajoders sociales que puedan asistir a las personas de la tercera edad en el programa Elderday Adult Day Health Care. 

They were at the bull’s-eye of the Bay Area storms. Now, these communities are in economic crisis – San Francisco Chronicle, February 2023

“Disaster resources are intimidating to most people,” said Ray Cancino, CEO of Santa Cruz nonprofit Community Bridges. “There are a lot of hidden realities why people don’t ask for help.” Some families are afraid because of their immigration status, Cancino said. Others are afraid of being displaced if inspectors deem their homes unsafe or ineligible to be rebuilt. 

Homeowners Return to Unhealthy Conditions After Storms – Good Times, January 2023

Since the first storm on New Year’s Eve, Community Bridges has been going door to door in Watsonville and Felton communities, as well as sending text messages with services available to prepare for and respond to storm damage, including short and long-term health threats. Over 350 people have filled out their winter storm assessments, allowing them to be connected with the best local resources. 

Live Oak Senior Center leaders seek space in teacher housing project – Santa Cruz Local, January 2023

Senior center leaders have said the property’s mid-county location is a central place to prepare and deliver meals to older residents in the county through its Meals on Wheels program. The center is also on a bus line, which facilitates wide participation in other services. “It’s such a great location for us,” said Community Bridges spokesperson Tony Nuñez. “We’d like to stay there if possible.” 

Long after visiting dignitaries and the news have moved on, we will still be here for each other. Even when it feels like the obstacles to a fair recovery are insurmountable, we have an infrastructure of love and partnership that holds us together. We know how to do this. We’ve done it before, and we’ll do it again.
How to apply for disaster aid in Santa Cruz County – Santa Cruz Local, January 2023
“The biggest barrier, at the beginning, was just not knowing where to start,” said Tony Nuñez, spokesman for the Watsonville-based nonprofit group Community Bridges. Since the heavy rain and floods have subsided, leaders from Community Bridges and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, have tried to guide storm victims toward aid for repairs. Some lessons from the process could help others prepare for disaster.
The Community Foundation for Monterey County (CFMC) has granted more than $200,000 to nonprofit organizations for storm recovery. Organizations like Community Bridges, Casa de Cultura and Community Emergency Response Volunteers of the Monterey Peninsula (CERV) are among the organizations that have received grants.
Caroline’s Thrift donates $550,000 to local nonprofits – The Pajaronian, January 2023
“I feel really proud of what this group of people has done,” she said. “The volunteers work incredibly hard to make this happen. As a mother it’s a little bittersweet—it’s hard because I lost my daughter, but I also think this would make her happy.”
Community Bridges and Monterey County are hosting a virtual recovery session to help Monterey County residents impacted by the winter storms. This online session will be hosted on Thursday, Jan. 26, at 6 p.m. The webinar will be available in English, Spanish, Mixteco and Triqui.
Community Bridges is providing cleanup tools and resources at Family Resource Collective (FRC) locations, aiming to help the community recover from the floods and mudslides produced by the recent storms. Residents can rent items such as air movers, dehumidifiers, wet/dry vacs, carpet cleaners, push brooms, and pressure washers, at no cost.
Winter Storm Resources 2023 – Lookout, January 2023

Storms in January have prompted evacuations, floods, slides, road closures and damage. Santa Cruz Local’s Winter Storm Resources page aims to provide emergency information and answers to common questions.

When filing an insurance claim for damage incurred during the recent storms, property owners are advised never to use the word “flood.” Insurance companies—driven by profit and therefore disinclined to part with their money—typically categorically deny claims for flood damage. That was among the advice dispensed at a public session in Watsonville Thursday afternoon sponsored by Community Bridges.
Volunteer-led sandbag effort continues – Pajaronian, January 2023
Scores of city staff and volunteers from Community Bridges, the Community Action Board, the California Conservation Corps and more, as well as individual residents and families have been preparing and handing out sandbags in various locations across Watsonville.

“We’re doing these webinars right now, but then come Friday morning, I think we’ll probably be out in the community again, trying to get people prepared with sandbags. And get people prepared with emergency radios and food and water,” Tony Nuñez, communications manager for local nonprofit Community Bridges, said of his agency’s current balancing act. “So it almost feels like we’re doing it all over again trying to get ready for Saturday.”

Community Bridges, a close partner of the Volunteer Center and Community Foundation, has also been engaged in a robust support and recovery effort since the storms arrived, including shuttle services for the elderly and supply replenishment for communities in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Watsonville-based Community Bridges announced that last year it helped about 100 local community members access nearly $500,000 in tax benefits through its Santa Cruz County Individual Taxpayer Identification Number and Child Tax Credits outreach programs. It also assisted with state and federal Earned Income Tax Credits.
San Francisco Chronicle’s storm tracker – San Francisco Chronicle, January 2023

“The fact is that a lot of folks are living at precarious levels,” said Ray Cancino, Community Bridges CEO, a nonprofit which serves low-income residents in Watsonville and throughout Santa Cruz County. “The majority of what is impacted is literally all senior housing units, 55 and older low income communities.”

News Archive

Switzer’s work as operations manager with the nonprofit Mountain Community Resources has put her in direct contact with victims of the fire, as both a disaster case manager helping people put one foot in front of the other, and part of the team deciding how to delegate a bank of donation funds to help people finance their recovery.
Community Bridges Debunks Taxation Myths – Good Times, December 2022
With the help of the Santa Cruz County ITIN and Child Tax Credit Project, Community Bridges is working to get money back into the hands of locals, by assisting eligible families and individuals in filing for their Individual Taxpayer Identification Number

Community Bridges pauses in-person Elderday services as COVID numbers rise – Santa Cruz Sentinel, December 2022
Elderday provides care for about 150 elderly county residents every year who suffer from complex medical conditions, disabilities and dementia. However, because that population is also considered to be at high risk of a negative outcome following a COVID-19 infection, it has paused in-person services for two to three weeks and a minimum of 10 days beginning Dec. 15.

Meals on Wheels in Live Oak gets six-month lease extension – Santa Cruz Sentinel, December 2022
“It allows us more time to have an appropriate response in terms of being able to find a permanent location for Meals on Wheels,” said Ray Cancino, CEO of Community Bridges, the organization providing administrative support and oversight for the meal service. “We obviously have contingency plans, but those plans are really hard on staff and how we would be delivering service.”

As life returns to normal in some displaced by CZU Lightning Fire others still struggling – KSBW, June 2022
Susan True is the CEO of the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County which works closely with disaster case managers to provide funding. “Those funds are available for fire survivors through our disaster care management managers. So, organizations: Catholic Charities, Mountain Community Resources and Davenport resource center can help fire survivors to apply for funds to help with their rebuilding,” True said.

County budget cuts to essential senior services: How you can help – Lookout Santa Cruz, June 2022
But for those who rely on Mountain Community Resources in Felton for a hot shower a few times each week, losing access to that facility results in a reduction of services for that community. This is true for the over $2.2 million dollars of services that have been lost as a result of this recommendation. 

Puentes Comunitarios protesta por posible recorte de $800,000 en el presupuesto 2022-2023– KION, June 2022
Una nueva propuesta reduciría 800 mil dólares al presupuesto de la organización Puentes Comunitarios en el Condado de Santa Cruz y podría afectar a cientos de familias latinas en plena crisis de inflación. Los líderes de Puentes Comunitarios protestaron hoy en Watsonville y advierten que si se realiza este recorte, varios servicios que ofrecen a la comunidad dejarán de existir. 

Santa Cruz County proposing cut to Community Bridges funding – KION, June 2022
“It’s gonna have a devastating impact on the family resource centers locally. We usually serve about 6 thousand people a year. We’re going to only be able to serve about 3 thousand a year,” Raymon Cancino, a spokesperson for Community Bridges said. “We’re going to have cuts across the board. Seventy-six percent of all our clients are people of color. They’re people from the south county, and the reality is, is that losing that funding is going to negatively affect them.”

Local service providers condemn CORE investment recommendations – Santa Cruz Sentinel, June 2022
“It was disheartening to review the CORE funding recommendations. While I do see the importance of all the programs that are currently being recommended for funding, it is evident that the panel who reviewed the applications does not fully grasp the significance or importance of our family resource centers,” said Family Resource Collective Program Director Mayra Melendrez while speaking at the podium. Melendrez stressed the importance of family resource services which she said serves more than 6,000 participants each year and provides lockers, showers, laundry, food and mailing services to houseless participants. “It feels like we’re going to need to turn our backs on (participants) due to lack of funding and investments from the county.

Elderly services search for new home – Santa Cruz Sentinel, May 2022
In that regard, Cancino and Berkowitz did have some positive news to share: Meals on Wheels secured a space to provide in-person senior dining services at the Mid-County Senior Center, after the center’s board approved a recent proposal. Community Bridges currently operates two additional dining sites in north and south county, but Berkowitz says this midtown location will prove to be a critical resource.

Guest Commentary | Community is essential in mental wellness – Santa Cruz Sentinel, May 2022
We’ve grown our Spanish programs 300%, hired four bilingual/bicultural staff members, and partnered with trusted organizations in Pajaro Valley including Salud Para La Gente and Community Bridges to ensure that we can support Santa Cruz County’s Spanish speaking community. We offer no-cost bilingual (English and Spanish) education and support to those affected by mental illness and their care providers.

Meals on Wheels facing eviction – The Pajaronian, May 2022
Meals on Wheels (MOW) is looking for a new home after being served an eviction notice by Live Oak School District, which has been leasing its location to the organization for more than four decades. The district has told the organization that the aging space poses several safety concerns, and that it is looking to convert the spot at 1777 Capitola Road into teacher housing. MOW says it knew about those plans, so the news did not come as a shock. Still, the six-month deadline is posing a challenge for MOW, which runs its kitchen, dining site and administrative offices out of the site, says Jayme Ackemann, a spokesperson for Community Bridges, which runs the meal delivery program. “We understood there were long-term plans for this site, and we were working towards our own long-term location,” she said. “But we believed we had more time to do that.” MOW makes and distributes more than 180,000 meals annually to Santa Cruz County seniors. 

After 45 years Santa Cruz Meals on Wheels in need of new kitchen location – KSBW, May 2022
It also means, the nonprofit organization will lose the commercial size kitchen it uses to prepare meals, said, Carol Childers, Assistant Program Manager for Meals on Wheels. “The meals have been coming out of the kitchen next door for 45 years and those hot meals go to all of our meal sites throughout the county,” Childers said. “The building is literally going to fall apart.”

New Challenges As Santa Cruz County’s Age Demographics Shift – Good Times, March 2022
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, by 2030… older Americans will make up 21% of the population, compared to 15% today… How can communities better meet the needs of their older populations?… Elderday Adult Day Health Care… will add an additional 3,600 square feet of space and allow the program to expand its services. “We’re just really excited because this means that we’re going to serve lots of seniors with medically complex needs, have daily access to nurses, to therapists, social workers, to help support their health as well as their well-being,” says Community Bridges CEO Raymon Cancino.

South County residents describe their priorities for supervisor candidates – Santa Cruz Local, March 2022
Rent assistance was the most frequently mentioned priority in surveys and interviews with District 4 residents. Benito Perez, 66, is a registered District 4 voter and also works in the berry fields… He wants the supervisorial candidates to address the high cost of rent. He does not have an income in the winter since farm work is seasonal. “Lower the rents. The salaries that we make are little and the rent is so high,” Perez said. “The cost of food is rising and the gas is going up. What’s going to happen now?”

Caring for those who can’t yet leave COVID behind – Santa Cruz Sentinel, March 2022
So many remain in desperate need of assistance, legal aid, and landlord tenant mediation. We’ve transitioned from the triage of the COVID-19 Relief Fund to our ongoing Greatest Needs Fund, which is supporting nonprofit partners including Community Bridges, Community Action Board, Families in Transition, Conflict Resolution Center, and Senior Citizens Legal Services whose offices are clamoring with families looking for help.

La moratoria para desalojos en el condado de Santa Cruz vence el 31 de Marzo – NoticiasYa, March 2022
La moratoria para desalojos en el condado de Santa Cruz vence el 31 de Marzo. La organización Puentes de la Comunidad todavía esta ayudando a los inquilinos que cumplan con los requisitos para evitar que sean desalojados de sus casas. (831) 316-1822

‘Best day of the year’: Caroline’s gives $500K to local nonprofits – The Pajaronian, March 2022
Caroline’s Nonprofit Thrift Shop donated $500,000 to local community-serving organizations on Sunday in a ceremony at Martinelli’s Company Store on Harvest Drive… Hospice of Santa Cruz, Jacob’s Heart Children’s Cancer Support Services and Coastal Kids Home Care were all awarded $35,000, while other nonprofits such as Community Bridges ($25,000), Monarch Services ($30,000) and Pajaro Valley Shelter Services ($20,000) were also handed funds.

Demand for homeless services climbs in Watsonville – Santa Cruz Local, February 2022
Mayra Melendrez knows the pressures on Watsonville families well. She is the program director for Community Bridges’ Family Resource Collective, which includes Watsonville-based La Manzana Community Resources… Like other service providers in Watsonville, La Manzana saw an increase in demand last year, especially on the rental assistance front. Melendrez estimated a 15% increase in demand for services from 2020 to 2021… When Melendrez first started working at the Watsonville location about six years ago, there were roughly 300 Monterey County clients. Now there are about 500, she said. “I would say it’s a combination of need and word of mouth,” Melendrez said of the trend.

Lift Line on the Apple App Store – Apple, February 2022
Lift Line allows you to manage your transportation on the go. We provide thousands of door-to-door rides a year to seniors and people with disabilities; allowing Santa Cruz County residents to maintain their independence. Our fleet of vehicles furnish comfortable trips for eligible riders, and our professional drivers offer door-to-door assistance from origin to destination. Escorts, personal care attendants, and a limited number of travelling companions are welcome. All Lift Line rides are free of cost to qualifying residents of Santa Cruz County.

Emergency Rental Assistance Program Webinar – Patch, February 2022
Attention Landlords! You’re invited to an upcoming Emergency Rental Assistance Program Webinar. Hear from knowledgeable presenters about the California Emergency Rental Assistance Program, legal considerations and free housing mediation services. Thursday, Feb. 17, noon-1 p.m. Presenters: Tonje Wold-Switzer from Community Bridges, Tanya Ridino from Senior Citizens’ Legal Services, and Lejla Bratovic from the Conflict Resolution Center of Santa Cruz County.

Giving Tuesday donations can help more than 2,000 nonprofits in Santa Cruz County – KSBW, November 2021
It is the season of giving and Giving Tuesday was a perfect day to get in the holiday spirit. The day encourages people to give back, by donating to charities or nonprofits… Giving Tuesday serves as a reminder to think about our neighbors and start the season with gratitude and giving. “For us, it’s a big fundraising opportunity. We raise a significant amount of funds to help us direct children and seniors and those living in our community. So, for us, it’s a big deal,” said Raymon Cancino, CEO of Community Bridges.

Nonprofit offers financial support to Big Basin Water customers – Santa Cruz Sentinel, November 2021
Residents that have been financially impacted by recent Big Basin Water Co. outages may be eligible for two Community Bridges financial relief programs… Community Bridges can supply eligible households of two people or more a $500 Visa gift card, or an individual household with a $250 gift card. If Big Basin customers don’t live in a property included in a red zone on the CZU damage map, they may also be eligible for Community Bridges COVID-19 funding. “There are people who are struggling with such a basic necessity as access to clean, safe, reliable water,” said Ackemann.

Our Community Must Remain Vigilant – Press Banner, November 2021
On Oct. 29, during MCR’s Mountain Affair fundraiser in Ben Lomond, I had the privilege of presenting the Mary Hammer Green Hart Award to volunteer Suzie Schwilk, who was honored for her support of MCR’s food pantry program. Suzie’s efforts certainly personify the life’s work of Mary Hammer, who helped to establish the Valley Women’s Club and has worked tirelessly to support the San Lorenzo Valley. We congratulate Suzie and thank her for her dedication to our mountain residents.

Meeting Wednesday on proposed Live Oak medical complex – Santa Cruz Local, November 2021
“The facility will be served by Santa Cruz Metro’s Paracruz and Lift Line which is operated by Community Bridges,” wrote John Swift, a consultant for the developer, in an email. “These services provide affordable door-to-door transportation options for the physically impaired and elderly.”

Mobile Covid-19 Testing Comes to Felton – San Lorenzo Valley Press-Banner, September 2021
A new partnership between Community Bridges and Santa Cruz County Public Health will provide additional opportunities for free Covid-19 testing in the San Lorenzo Valley. Community Bridges, a countywide nonprofit, will be hosting a traveling testing bus at its Mountain Community Resources location in Felton for residents who desire a test. “I’m thrilled that we are able to open this Covid testing site in Felton under a partnership with Mountain Community Resources,” he said. “With the Delta variant of the virus causing an increase in infections, there has been a disproportionate impact in the San Lorenzo Valley, where vaccination rates are among the lowest in the county. The beauty of this project is that the testing site is mobile and could eventually move around to meet the community’s needs.”

Mobile COVID-19 testing bus to launch in San Lorenzo Valley – KION, September 2021
Mountain Community Resources is offering a mobile testing bus that can administer 84 tests a day. The hours for the center are from Friday to Tuesday and last from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. “Rapid, local testing and vaccination resources will help keep kids in school, valley businesses open, and help to restore a sense of normalcy as the community continues to recover. We look forward to continuing our long history of meeting the needs of the valley,” said Community Bridges’ CEO Raymon Cancino. This mobile testing bus will be located behind the Mountain Community Resource Center in Felton at 6134 Highway 9.

Santa Cruz County caregivers talk vaccination rates, policies – Santa Cruz Sentinel, August 2021
Community Bridges, which offers health and human services in the county, announced this week it will begin requiring all employees to provide proof of vaccination with the exception of those granted a medical or religious exemption. CEO Ray Cancino said 87% of staff members were vaccinated as of Wednesday. “Part of stopping the spread of COVID-19 requires that we all act in community with one another and we sacrifice for the good of our community,”  Cancino said in a statement. “There are young children and immune-compromised individuals in our community who need our help to protect them from this virus.”

Red Tape and ‘Shadow Debt’ are Pushing Renters to the Edge – Good Times, July 2021
Minority households are also the most in need of rental assistance: in Santa Cruz County, the Latinx population accounted for over half of the Covid-19 cases, and statewide the Latinx population accounts for 40% of Covid-19 rent relief applicants. “When clients hear about this, they go out and they try to find it, and then they get burned out, and so people get frustrated,” says Community Bridges CEO Raymon Cancino.

Name Dropping | Steven Salyer to head Watsonville Community Hospital – Santa Cruz Sentinel, July 2021
Community Bridges will receive $48,122 to plan, develop, and implement the Edible Garden Project benefiting low-income children on the central coast of California, according to the office of Rep. Jimmy Panetta. “I am pleased to announce that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has made vital investments to increase access to healthy, nutritious food for students and communities on the Central Coast,” said Panetta said in a prepared release.

Local seniors might be facing food insecurity – KION, July 2021
“We hear a lot of people that, if it wasn’t for this meal, there would be nothing in my fridge. And so it’s just really something that, you know, is behind closed doors,” Raymon Cancino, Chief Executive Officer at Community Bridges. It’s becoming increasingly harder and harder for people to make ends meet, and many older adults across the Central Coast are struggling. And the cost of living continues to go up. “We know that seniors are on fixed incomes. They can’t afford to continue to also pay their rent and their medical Medicare B, Plan B things, and that they’re really struggling to just stay afloat,” Cancino.

Things To Do in Santa Cruz: July 7-13 – Good Times, July 2021
Join the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History (MAH) in a community conversation centered around the value of acknowledging community truth, struggle, and resilience through murals with local artists. Together with MAH Outreach Coordinator, Helen Aldana, artist Guillermo Aranda, Ray Cancino of Community Bridges, and Mireya Contreras Gomez gather to share and talk about land acknowledgment, representation, collaboration, and the censorship of art in public spaces.

Santa Cruz County urges renters, landlords to apply for rent relief – Santa Cruz Sentinel, July 2021
Following the state legislature’s extension of statewide eviction protections until Sept. 30, the County of Santa Cruz encourages tenants and landlords who have unpaid rent to begin the CA COVID-19 Rent Relief application process at, according to a release from the county… Residents who need help with the application process may also contact the Rent Relief program’s local partner organizations: Mid- and North County: Community Bridges (Live Oak): 831-476-7284; Community Bridges (Beach Flats): 831-423-5747, ext. 13.

County seeks landlords before pandemic housing expires – Santa Cruz Local, July 2021
For more than 250 Santa Cruz County residents living in shelters and motel rooms through pandemic related programs, a race has begun to find permanent housing before temporary housing money expires in the coming months … Separate from Rehousing Wave, landlords and tenants can apply for a state rent relief program at or 833-430-2122. Tenants must meet income limits and have financial hardship related to the pandemic. For assistance with the application, call Community Bridges’ housing support line at 831-219-8607 or visit Community Bridges’ website.

Name dropping | Two Santa Cruz County student inventors honored – Santa Cruz Sentinel, July 2021
Meals on Wheels California appointed Community Bridges CEO Raymon Cancino to the Board that oversees statewide advocacy efforts in affiliation with Meals on Wheels America.

Community Bridges trades pints for vaccines at Watsonville pop-up clinic – Good Times, June 2021
Cancino said that incentives do work—they already had people signed up for the clinic prior to the day off. He added that if they had enough people interested in “Poke for a Pint,” they might hold similar events in the future. The Slough Brewing Collective on Hangar Way in Watsonville, and Greater Purpose Brewing Company in Santa Cruz have already expressed interest in teaming up. “We want to do whatever we can to get this county vaccinated, so things can keep improving,” Cancino said.

Pop-up bike lane demo coming to Portola – TPG Online Daily, June 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused financial hardships for many in our County, but there is assistance available! California’s Housing is Key program has made more than $16 million available in rent relief to Santa Cruz County residents. Both landlords and tenants are eligible to apply, and the application can be found here. If you need help applying for the program, call our County’s hotline at 454-2332. Several community organizations can help you apply, including Communities Organized for Power in Action (COPA), Community Bridges, the United Way, Families in Transition, and the Community Action Board. Fill out this form to let these organizations know that you need help with the process.

Grants from Kaiser Permanente Santa Cruz urge COVID19 vaccination – Patch, June 2021
“We appreciate Kaiser Permanente’s leadership and role in ensuring equity and access are at the forefront in Santa Cruz County,” said Raymon Cancino, Chief Executive Officer of Community Bridges. “The funding will help us support the vaccination helpline as well as outreach and communications to target those most hesitant to access the vaccine.”

Hundreds of advocates urge Gov. Newsom to expand SB91 – Good Times, June 2021
“These actions are critical to preventing our families from venturing into the overwhelming homelessness crisis,” said Raymon Cancino, CEO of Community Bridges and an organizer with COPA. Cancino reminded everyone in attendance that the state budget is due on June 15—less than a week from the publishing of this article—and so action is needed as soon as possible.

Lunch program kicks off Monday – Santa Cruz Sentinel, June 2021
Kids up to age 18 can pick up a free lunch from noon to 1pm daily at sites in Santa Cruz and Watsonville through mid-August. Santa Cruz sites are open through Aug. 6 and most Watsonville sites open through Aug. 13. For a list of sites, dates and times please visit

Mountain Community Resources Expands Services– Santa Cruz Mountain Bulletin, June 2021
The destruction and displacement from the CZU Lightning Complex fire, coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic, left the residents of the San Lorenzo Valley and Scotts Valley with limited options for services to get back on their feet.  With many community members needing support, Mountain Community Resources expanded services and created new programs to assist the most vulnerable populations in their community. Read the full article here.

SC County housing advocates seek state eviction moratorium extension – Santa Cruz Sentinel, June 2021
In Santa Cruz County, the state operates its SB 91 program. In turn, the state is contracting with area organizations such as Community Bridges, Community Action Board, Families in Transition and the Conflict Resolution Center of Santa Cruz County to assist applicants with such things as difficulty accessing online applications or language barriers.

Creativity shines in Watsonville on murals throughout city – Santa Cruz Sentinel, May 2021
A mural under renovation by Watsonville artist Yermo Aranda draws the attention of a passerby on the wall of the home of Women Infants and Children (WIC) program on West Lake Avenue in Watsonville… Watsonville is filled with murals and other works of public art that burst with color as well as messages of strength, courage and resilience.

New mask guidelines, wildfire warnings and happy birthday NPR – KAZU, April 2021
Homebound seniors in Santa Cruz County can let officials know whether they’d like to get vaccinated in their home in a new survey. Responses will help Public Health plan for homebound vaccination efforts. Residents can fill out the survey online or call/text Community Bridges’ helpline at 831-219-8607. Leave your name, phone number, age and zip code, and someone should get back to you within 48 hours.

Emergency sheltering for homeless could get a much-needed extension thanks to new federal funding – Lookout Santa Cruz, April 2021
About $100,000 for Meals on Wheels, an allotment directed by supervisors Tuesday amid worries that not enough attention was being paid to the southern portion of the county. The program had originally requested more than $570,000 to cover food costs associated with continuing the expansion of a 5-day breakfast pack for seniors sheltering in place, but program representatives said Tuesday that any amount of funding would help… Lisa Berkowitz, the program director of Meals on Wheels for the nonprofit Community Bridges, said that by May 2020 her organization had seen an 86% increase in the average daily number of seniors it was serving.

Santa Cruz County: Vaccine interest survey for the homebound – Patch, April 2021
If you are a homebound resident of Santa Cruz County and have not yet received a COVID-19 vaccination, Santa Cruz County Public Health would like to hear from you. If you need assistance filling out the survey, call or text Community Bridges’ Bridges to Access Vaccination Helpline at (831) 219-8607. Leave your name, phone number, age and zip code, and Community Bridges’ staff will call back within 48 hours.

How much is rent relief helping Californians? – CalMatters, April 2021
Community-based organizations across the state helping to roll out the program repeated the same message: There’s simply not enough funding to help them reach those most in need. “It doesn’t bring us confidence to know we’re underfunded yet expected to serve,” said Deutron Kebebew, a program director at Community Bridges in Santa Cruz. Kebebew said his organization didn’t get enough money to fund two full-time positions. Yet medium to large property management companies often have more staff members to help tenants submit applications.

Yvette Brooks, Mayor’s message | Volunteers are vital to Capitola – Santa Cruz Sentinel, April 2021
Meals on Wheels volunteers generously spend its time organizing, preparing and delivering meals throughout our community. I recently had the opportunity to observe during its Community Champions week-long celebration to honor the brave seniors that have experienced extraordinary challenges over the past year. This event is part of a nationwide campaign to raise awareness for services that give voice to seniors experiencing isolation, food insecurity and poverty. It was truly a special day.

Santa Cruz County organizations bring resources straight to the community – KION, April 2021
Organizations like Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County and Community Bridges in Watsonville are designating food hubs to make access to food pantries and distributions easier for those with limited resources or who cannot travel far. “That’s why these locations exist is to make sure that underserved parts of our community have access within at least five miles of another one of our centers, they offer these weekly, sometimes bi-monthly opportunities at each one of the locations,” says Raymon Cancino, CEO of Community Bridges in Watsonville.

Centros de distribución de comida y asistencia por la pandemia en el Condado de Santa Cruz – KION, April 2021
Organizaciones como el banco de alimentos Second Harvest del Condado de Santa Cruz y Community Bridges en Watsonville son la fuente de comida de miles de residentes con recursos limitados y que no tienen acceso a un método de transporte. Estos les proporciona comida a centros dentro de las comunidades. “Por eso existen estas ubicaciones, para asegurarse que las comunidades vulnerables tengan acceso a un centro de distribución de comida dentro de cinco millas de donde viven, estos ofrecen oportunidades de distribución semanalmente o bisemanal”, dijo el Director Ejecutivo de Raymon Cancino en Watsonville.

Downtown Senior Center and partners help community avoid isolation – Santa Cruz Sentinel, March 2021
Watsonville-based Community Bridges, which partners with the Downtown Senior Center already for the Senior Center Without Limits program, stepped on to the scene in mid-February to offer a hotline designed to reach out to seniors without internet access who could be helped over the phone… Kelly Mercer-Lebov, [senior programs coordinator of the Downtown Senior Center at the Louden Nelson Community Center] said that Community Bridges made around 2,000 appointments for seniors in two months… As of June, low-income seniors 60 and older can participate in the Senior Center Without Limits online program through the distribution of free Amazon fire tablets. Local internet provider Cruzio helped by providing internet to these seniors as a part of its Equal Access Santa Cruz initiative, a cooperative to help families that need affordable internet.

The need to feed struggling communities continues – KION, March 2021
Community Bridges is just one of the locations throughout the county providing food pantry services closer to the people in the community. “We’re probably seeing about 350 to 400 families, we also run a  summer lunch program every year which is when schools close and we provide lunch for those children who are outside of school,” says Community Bridges CEO Raymon Cancino.

Communities of color still hardest hit by COVID-19 in Monterey Bay Area – Santa Cruz Sentinel, March 2021
Living and working conditions have put Santa Cruz County Latino community members in higher-risk scenarios for contracting COVID-19… In order to live in the Monterey Bay Area, many “double up,” sharing rooms, smaller homes and apartments, to make ends meet. The Santa Cruz County Latino community predominantly works in essential-service sectors, such as restaurants, child care, agriculture, hospitality… putting them at further risk of infection… “What the COVID era really showed was the conditions that people have to survive in Santa Cruz County make public health [risk] more predominant and more aggressive than in other communities where it’s not as prevalent,” said Community Bridges CEO Ray Cancino.

Santa Cruz County community steps up throughout pandemic – Santa Cruz Sentinel, March 2021
Santa Cruz community members felt the brunt of the COVID-19 burden, including seniors, and small business owners. Santa Cruz County nonprofit Community Bridges had to tweak how it delivered meals to senior citizens they served, to prevent the spread of COVID-19. With assistance from the city and county of Santa Cruz, as well as the Community Foundation, the organization also bought and distributed 2,000 Amazon Fire tablets to local seniors. “What we understand is there’s a real digital divide, compared to other demographics with seniors,” said Raymon Cancino, CEO with Community Bridges. “Seniors are using these tablets to meet with doctors, go to physical therapy, counseling and to see their families.”

Santa Cruz County Renters Eligible for Relief – KSBW Action News, March 2021
The federal government is giving $16 million to assist low-income renters and landlords in [Santa Cruz County.] The CA COVID Rent Relief gives funding to households who make 50% or less of the median income. If the applicants are approved, landlords could receive 80% of the tenants unpaid rent. “We’re asking folks to be patient as the state rolls this out and understands it’s not a first come first serve. It’s really based on need and eligibility,” [said CEO Raymon Cancino.] You can apply or verify eligibility by visiting

Low-income renters and landlords in Santa Cruz County eligible for pandemic assistance – KION 5/46, March 2021
Santa Cruz County announced that local renters and landlords are eligible for more than $16 million in federal funding to help pay rent and utility bills during the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding is distributed based on need and available to low-income renters and landlords affected by the pandemic… The funds can be used to help with rent, utilities and home energy costs, rent and utility arrears and relating housing costs. Community Bridges, Community Action Board, Families in Transition, California Rural Legal Assistance and United Way 211 have been chosen to help renters and landlords with the application process. To apply or find out if you are eligible, visit the website here or call 1-833-430-2122.

Santa Cruz County receives more than $16 million in federal rent relief funding – Santa Cruz Sentinel, March 2021
Santa Cruz County is set to receive more than $16 million in funds to assist low-income renters and landlords. The “CA COVID Rent Relief” gives priority to those households who make 50% or less of median income in the Santa Cruz area. Still, those who earn up to 80% of average regional income are eligible to apply. If an application is approved, local landlords could receive 80% of each tenant’s unpaid rental payments accrued from April 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021… Community Bridges and Community Action Board as well as organizations such as the Conflict Resolution Center will be available to help renters and landlords through the application process… “[once] we put processes in place to implement this program.”

Transporte y asistencia para personas de la tercera edad para vacunación en el condado de Santa Cruz – Noticias Ya, Febrero de 2021
Las personas mayores de 65 que vivan en los codigos de postal 95076, 95077 y 96019 pueden venir al 114 de la calle East Fifth para hacer su cita de la vacuna contra el Covid o tambien puede llamar al 831-768-3279. Puentes de la Comunidad tambien cuenta con un servicio de transporte para que las personas puedan asisitr a su cita de vacunacion y regresar a sus casas de manera segura y completamete gratis para residentes del condado de Santa Cruz. (831) 688-9663 para reservar su cupo en el autobus.

Local non-profits help seniors navigate online vaccine portals – KSBW Action News 8, February 2021
Community Bridges and the Watsonville Senior Center have been helping seniors navigate through the maze of online forms and telephone calls to set up appointments. “We’ve seen seniors really struggle with their on-line appointment-making system and really having a hard time getting through,” said Ray Cancino, Community Bridges CEO. The Senior helpline was established to assist seniors on how to navigate the signup process… If you live in Santa Cruz County and need assistance with scheduling a Covid vaccine appointment you can contact Community Bridges at 831-219-8607.

County Health Director Urges Prioritization of Older Adults for Vaccines – Good Times, February 2021
The novel coronavirus has heavily impacted Watsonville, which has accounted for more than half of the county’s Covid-19 cases… Organizations such as Community Bridges are trying to reach those communities in several ways, CEO Raymon Cancino says. That includes hosting a multilingual community forum on Covid-19 vaccine safety, effectiveness and distribution on Feb. 23. The free forum will be presented in Spanish with real-time translation in English, Mixteco and Trique. It will be available online or via phone… Community Bridges recently established a helpline of its own— 831-219-8607— in hopes of helping older adults navigate what Cancino called a “fragmented” vaccine distribution system.

Santa Cruz Groups Support Older Adults During Pandemic – Good Times, February 2021
Lois Sones, Director of Elderday Adult Day Health Care, says she has seen a major decline in local older adult’s conditions during the pandemic. “Senior isolation was already a problem before Covid,” Sones said… Last summer [Elderday] launched the Senior Center Without Limits (SCWL), a program offering older adults free virtual classes, workshops and support… Once a participant joins, they can sign in to a multitude of classes, from cooking and tai chi to art workshops and sing-alongs… With the vaccine continuing to roll out in Santa Cruz County, Sones said she sees a “light at the end of the tunnel..” “Our goal is to keep people as engaged as possible, physically and mentally,” she said. “To give them hope.”

New COVID-19 vaccine site coming to Watsonville next week – KSBW Action News 8, February 2021
Watsonville has the highest number of Covid cases in Santa Cruz County and health officials are hoping to mitigate that by providing Covid vaccines. Almost two weeks ago, Santa Cruz County held a drive-thru vaccination clinic at the Fairgrounds serving the county’s most impacted population. This week, Dignity Health Dominican Hospital vaccinated 1,000 farm workers… Ray Cancino, CEO of Community Bridges is also a member of the Pajaro Valley COVID group. “Anything that we can show that is safe; that there’s no ulterior motive. It’s not going to impact, long term; that we continue to show that it’s gone through the same FDA process.” Those who are eligible for vaccination can sign up online or by phone. The county plans to release additional details about the Watsonville site next week.

Cards for isolated seniors: a Kaiser Permanente MLK Day project – Capitola Patch, January 2021
Hundreds of isolated senior citizens in Santa Cruz County will be getting a little extra joy come Valentine’s Day, thanks to more than 50 volunteers who volunteered as part of Kaiser Permanente’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. Volunteers and their children made Valentine’s Day cards for the seniors, which will be included in their Meals on Wheels deliveries during the Valentine’s week… Kaiser Permanente partnered with the Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County on the project. “So many seniors are struggling with isolation and the pandemic,” said Trēa Robinson, a Director at the Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County. “I can’t think of a better project for Kaiser Permanente to organize on the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.”

Radios could help residents stay aware ahead of debris flows – Santa Cruz Sentinel, January 2021
So far Community Bridges has purchased 275 weather radios, using Community Foundation Santa Cruz funding. More than 130 have been distributed to smaller local organizations, such as the Bonny Doon Church… If debris flow evacuations are ordered, Community Bridges will broadcast public service announcements on KSCO, 1080 AM, that will inform evacuees where open shelters are,” said CEO Ray Cancino. County Public Works Director Matt Machado said, “Everybody should have a radio and be aware because when the power goes out, oftentimes that means you’re internet goes down, but the radio still works… During a storm, having that weather info at your fingertips is pretty important, because the forecast is just the forecast.” Those living in high-risk debris flow areas can request a weather radio on Community Bridges’ website:

Name Dropping: Two added to Community Bridges board – Santa Cruz Sentinel, December 2020
Community Bridges announced the appointment of Brenda Griffin and Silvia Morales to its board, according to a press release from the organization. Griffin is the president of the NAACP Santa Cruz County Branch. She has been on the steering committee of the Economic Justice Alliance and on the Santa Cruz Police Chief’s advisory committee to address issues around policies and accountability. Silvia Morales is the executive director of the Resource Center for Nonviolence in Santa Cruz. She has demonstrated expertise in leading nonprofit and civic organizations in Santa Cruz County promoting diversity, advancing equity and advocating for justice, according to the release. Additionally, Nicolette Lee has been appointed as the new board chair effective January 2021. Nicolette has been a member of the Community Bridge Board since 2017 and brings a wealth of expertise in advancing policies that benefit and serve our entire community.

Opinion | Don’t Scrooge This Up – Good Times, December 2020
Reaching out to an older friend, a parent or a grandparent is never more meaningful than during the holiday season. It warms us, them, and bestows all with human connection, that is an essential component of health and happiness. Covid-19 has made keeping in touch with older adults more challenging than ever. It is critical that we find ways to support seniors and ourselves with activities that create human interactions and opportunities during this holiday season. Reach out with a phone or Zoom call, a holiday card, or in other creative ways. You can help fight loneliness and isolation by engaging in some wonderful local programs that connect seniors of all ages during the holidays. If you’re not sure where to start, consider Stay Connected at the Volunteer Center; Community Bridges Senior Center without Limits; or Senior Network Services. Reach out and warm a heart; it might be your own. — Raymon Cancino, CEO Community Bridges; Clay Kempf, Executive Director Seniors Council; Pam Arnsberger, Board Chair Seniors Council

Letter | Isolated seniors need interaction during holidays – Santa Cruz Sentinel, November 2020
For most of us the holidays are moments of celebration, but for many isolated seniors it can be a triggering reminder of their loneliness. In the next couple of weeks, Meals on Wheels, Lift Line drivers, and Elderday staff will continue to visit many seniors’ homes both in person and also digitally through our Senior Center Without Limits program. These interactions provide some of the very few opportunities seniors across our county have for human interaction throughout their day. We urge our community to seek out volunteer opportunities to make a lasting impact through program like ours during this holiday season. This is as a very tangible way to engage with one another, and to help provide a sense of community to those of us that are most isolated. — Raymon Cancino, CEO Community Bridges, Watsonville

Print sale helps out fire relief services – Santa Cruz Sentinel, November 2020
York Framing Gallery has teamed up with retired firefighter and amateur photographer Paul Babb to create an opportunity for you to help our community and get a photo in the process. York has printed Babb’s photo of the “Fire Start” in two forms and is selling them at cost plus an additional $20 donation which [they] will forward to Mountain Community Resources. Babb caught this image during the lightning storm on Aug. 16. The 30-second exposure caught the beginnings of the first fire. For information on prices or to order your copy, call 831-462-0313.

City using more than $320k for emergency housing assistance – The Pajaronian, November 2020
The City [of Watsonville] will use $320,947 for emergency housing assistance, and $160,000 for food distributions—$75,000 will go to the Second Harvest Food Bank and Meals on Wheels will receive $85,000. The rest ($25,313) will be used for administrative fees and planning. Meals on Wheels Director Lisa Berkowitz said the program, which is a part of Community Bridges, has served more than 68,000 meals to 341 senior residences in Watsonville since the pandemic began. Community Bridges CEO Raymond Cancino added that the program has also has started serving breakfast to local seniors, arguably the most vulnerable population during the pandemic. “The seniors depend on us to provide meals,” Berkowitz said.

Outdoor Mural at La Manzana Center Gets New Life, Larger Footprint – Good Times, November 2020
Work began in late October on a major restoration of a long-standing outdoor mural at the La Manzana Community Resources center. Muralist Guillermo “Yermo” Aranda, who is the creative drive behind scores of murals around Santa Cruz County, Salinas and San Diego, said it was time to refresh the paint on the 1993 Mural along 18 West Lake Ave. in Watsonville… The mural is comprised of five panels, each with its own set of meanings: The Sacredness of Mother and Child, The Empowerment and Sacrifices of Women and Mothers, Education and Resiliency , The Spirit and Celebration, and The Lord of Light and the Abundance of the Earth Project Timeline.

Being Grateful for Food – Times Publishing, October 2020
Paul Machlis, pantry manager at Community Bridges Mountain Community Resources in Felton, said, “Agencies like ours (pantries, soup kitchens, etc.) are helpful to their communities on little or no money, as long as we have willing volunteers and some minimal supplies and space… We had a woman who came regularly to our pantry for her family of four… both adults eventually found jobs, the daughter got through a bad stage, they kept the house — and one day she proudly arrived with a donation of $20 for the weekly pantry… They don’t need assistance these days, but when we see her around town, she always takes a moment to say that without Mountain Community Resources, they wouldn’t have made it.”

Community Bridges plans Oct. 20 virtual open house – Santa Cruz Sentinel, October 2020
Community Bridges will host a virtual open house at 2 p.m. Oct. 20 to showcase the newly renovated playground at the Sycamore Street Child Development Center. The community is invited to join Santa Cruz Mayor Justin Cummings, Community Bridges CEO Ray Cancino and the children enrolled at Sycamore Street Development Center for a socially distanced playdate on the new playground. The event will be livestreamed on the Community Bridges Facebook page. Community Bridges was awarded $13,600 in support from the City of Santa Cruz to make necessary renovations to the worn out play structure at the center. Additional funds came through Community Bridges, allowing for the completion of the ADA accessible playground.

Community Bridges supporting fire victims – The Pajaronian, October 2020
Community Bridges is aiming to support the recovery of Santa Cruz mountain residents impacted by the CZU August Lightning Complex. To meet immediate needs for families, Community Bridges is providing direct financial assistance to eligible families. Available due to funding from the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County and donations from the community, they have distributed grocery and Visa gift cards to over 75 households. The agency has also launched a new mobile laundry service that offers free access to washers and dryers to households that have been impacted by losing their home, been displaced or suffered significant smoke damage. The trailer will be located at rotating locations in the Santa Cruz mountains each week.

Mobile trailer provides laundry services for fire evacuees – KION 5/46, September 2020
[Community Bridges] is running a mobile laundry trailer for fire victims, and this week it is in Felton. Soap is provided to people who were evacuated and are still without water. The organization said there are a couple thousand people who are in need of the services, and the idea to run a mobile laundry trailer came from talking to evacuees… “When you have bad smoke damage, it’s terrible. You need to wash your stuff a bunch of times, and it can get expensive doing that at a laundromat. That’s when we came up with the idea,” said Roxanne Moore with Community Bridges.

Santa Cruz Co. Sees More Hunger Amid Pandemic: Find A Food Bank – Patch, September 2020
Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County partner agencies— such as Aptos Pantry, Live Oak Family Resource Center, Familia Center, Pajaro Valley Loaves & Fishes and Salud Para La Gente— also offer food services and others to local residents. Food insecurity is often thought of as a “poor people’s problem,” but not all people living in poverty are food insecure, and not all food insecure people live in poverty. Food insecurity is a complex issue sandwiched in with other systemic challenges, including poverty, low wages, affordable housing shortages, chronic and acute health problems, high medical costs and social isolation.

How to Help People Displaced By Fires – Times Publishing Group, September 2020
“The requests for help we’ve gotten since March have been staggering,” said Roxanne Moore, program director for Community Bridges, including Mountain Community Resources, which serves the hard-hit San Lorenzo Valley. “The cutbacks in hours and layoffs mean people can’t pay the rent, the utility bill, the cell phone bill or even the grocery bill,” she said. “We’ve been able to be there for those families, first for the pandemic, and now in response to the fires. From day one, the support and trust from the Community Foundation has been critical to our ability to get needs met.”

Double Whammy of Covid-19, Fires Strain Social Service Providers – Good Times, August 2020
While Community Bridges has been working with the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County to get some financial help for the recovery effort, residents were already falling behind on their rent due to the pandemic, [Community Bridges CEO Raymon Cancino said.] “We know that once things open up, the most vulnerable people we’re going to have to address are the people living up in the mountains of San Lorenzo Valley, Felton, Boulder Creek, Ben Lomond,” he said. “It was already a very rural, marginalized part of the county with limited resources, and the community is going to look to us to help them rebuild.”

Community Foundation Aids Farmworkers During Crisis – Good Times, August 2020
The Center for Farmworker Families is one of many organizations that have recently been aided by the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County’s (CFSCC) Covid-19 Relief Fund. As of Aug. 19, the foundation has awarded a total of $8.1 million in grants, with 100% of the money going directly into the community. Other organizations that have been working with CFSCC to help farmworkers include Pajaro Valley Prevention and Student Assistance, Monarch Services, the Community Action Board, Community Bridges, Catholic Charities, Second Harvest Food Bank, Loaves and Fishes, and more.

UndocuFund Monterey Bay has distributed almost $2 million in aid to undocumented people – Monterey County Weekly, August 2020
In a July 29 statement, SCCV Executive Director Maria T. Cadenas states UndocFund—which partners with various local organizations like Catholic Charities, [Community Bridges,] and United Way Santa Cruz County—has aided over 1,300 households. Of those households, 70 percent work in agriculture and 60 percent are families with children… Undocumented residents may have been paying into economic and social safety nets (using an individual taxpayer identification number), but they have not been part of recent federal or state stimulus packages. They also do not qualify for benefits like unemployment.

How has COVID-19 hurt Santa Cruz County’s most vulnerable? – Santa Cruz Local Podcast, July 2020
The risk of contracting the virus also made Bill and Jim stay home. So they turned to the Meals on Wheels program. That’s a food delivery service from the nonprofit Community Bridges. They’re not alone. Meals on Wheels staff says demand has nearly doubled since March. Meals on Wheels is supplied by Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County. Second Harvest supplies about 100 groups in our county that distribute food. Second Harvest staff told me that the program now serves about 40% of county residents. That’s 100,000 people. That’s nearly twice the number that Second Harvest served before COVID hit.

Evictions rise in first month without moratorium – The Pajaronian, July 2020
Tenant advocates saw a modest increase in eviction notices in June, the month immediately following the Watsonville City Council’s decision to allow its citywide eviction moratorium to expire… Sandra Silva, [the directing attorney of California Rural Legal Assistance’s Watsonville office] said the recent rise in eviction notices is a direct result of the moratorium’s expiration… to evict renters that have been hard-hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and do not understand their rights… Silva said she refers those displaced renters to nonprofits such as Community Bridges, Families In Transition and the Community Action Board (CAB) of Santa Cruz County.

New Online Program Offers Classes, Connections for Older Adults – Good Times, June 2020
[Covid-19] prompted [Elderday] staff to start looking for ways to expand and adapt their usual classes and activities to an online format. Community Bridges Executive Director Raymon Cancino had the idea to coordinate with the city of Watsonville and the city of Santa Cruz’s parks and recreation departments to create a new digital senior center… Santa Cruz County residents are invited to participate in over 15 classes per week on Zoom, a video conferencing application. Classes include yoga, tai chi, art, music, meditation and more. Support groups and computer classes are also available, and [Elderday Program Director Lois Sones] said they are developing ESL and citizenship classes as well. “We’re trying to figure out how to provide people with as much mental, physical and social stimulation as possible,” she said.

Cost of Newsom’s Cuts – Good Times Letters to the Editor, June 2020
“Governor Newsom’s proposed May budget revision sent chills throughout California with the elimination of Community Based Adult Services (CBAS) like Elderday, a program of Community Bridges. He posed a similar fate for Multipurpose Senior Services Program (MSSP) programs, which also help seniors remain in their homes and out of skilled nursing facilities (SNF) and respite care homes. I urge you to reach out to our local representatives in Sacramento and ensure they not only show support for these programs, but that they roll up their sleeves and actively advocate for their existence. These proposed cuts will only serve to increase costs to taxpayers with SNF costing three times more per person than CBAS, and result in displacement of Santa Cruz seniors who cannot find an appropriate care facility in their home county…” –Raymon Cancino | Chief Executive Officer, Community Bridges

Council passes budget as community calls for cuts to police – Pajaronian, June 2020
The Watsonville City Council approved the budget for fiscal year 2020/21 but not before roughly two dozen members of the community urged leaders to reimagine the way they allocate public funds… Community Bridges CEO Raymon Cancino led that push, citing a 2018 study done by New York University, the Brennan Center For Justice and the New York Times that found that crime rates drop as nonprofits multiply in communities.“The more you invest in social services, the better off you are,” Cancino said. “It’s critically important that people consider that and understand the impacts that we have of past decisions, current decisions and future decisions. And, also, why investing in our youth is important, and why it should be a top priority for our council to continue the trend that we’ve been on, which is reduced crime rates.”

Senior Center Without Limits Program In Santa Cruz – Patch, June 2020
Senior Center Without Limits is a new and innovative program available to all people over age 60 in Santa Cruz County… Seniors can participate in over 15 classes each week, such as yoga, tai chi, art and music. Support groups and computer classes are also available. All residents over the age of 60 living in Santa Cruz County are encouraged to participate in this free program… To join in the classes seniors must have access to internet and an internet enabled device (computer, smartphone or tablet). If seniors do not have a device, they may qualify to receive a free Amazon Fire tablet, while supplies last. To qualify they must be over the age of 60 and a low income resident of the City of Santa Cruz or City of Watsonville. Note that priority is given to people with disabilities.

Local nonprofits brace for budget cuts – The Pajaronian, June 2020
Gov. Gavin Newsom on May 27 released his revision of the California budget, and through it proposed to eliminate funding for Community Based Adult Services (CBAS) no sooner than July 1… This includes the Community Bridges organization’s Elderday Adult Day Health Care program, which supplies Santa Cruz County seniors with everything from at-home nursing care to healthy meals. “Shutting the doors of CBAS affects all generations,” Lois Sones, Elderday Program Director said in a press release. “CBAS serves primarily low-income, Medi-Cal eligible seniors and adults with disabilities. Families of our participants especially need CBAS now so they can return to work to contribute to our workforce and our economy.”

Participants Don’t Want the Governor to Cut Elderday Funds – Noticies Ya, May 2020
Since 1981 Elderday in Santa Cruz has been a relief to elderly families with disabilities to have well-being and a normal life. During the pandemic we continue to provide care now more than ever to prevent them from falling into depression and isolation… These services could be terminated after the Governor of California revised his budget and has plans to eliminate community service centers for adults. This could affect 36,000 elderly in California and about 90 at Elderday. The Governor has until June 15 to review the budget.

Balancing the California Budget on the Backs of At-Risk Seniors – WFMZTV, May 2020
The May Revision of the California Budget proposes to eliminate funding for Community Based Adults Services (CBAS), like Community Bridges’ Elderday program, no sooner than July 1, 2020. CBAS programs provide one of our state’s primary alternatives to skilled nursing facility placement and institutionalization. Elimination of the program will force up to 36,000 seniors into costly nursing homes, which have seen the highest instances of death during the COVID-19 crisis. Closing CBAS programs does not save the State money as the monthly cost of a private nursing home room is at least three times the cost to attend adult day health services… The public is urged to contact their State Senator and Assembly members to express their opposition to the elimination of CBAS programs. Budgets hearings and decisions are happening now so it is important to respond quickly.

Front Porch Project Documents Life in Santa Cruz During Covid-19 – Good Times, May 2020
Amy Isacson, a Santa Cruz-based portrait/wedding/anything photographer, decided to go out early one May Saturday morning and document how her friends and neighbors in Santa Cruz County are weathering the shelter-in-place era. She had with her a master list of two dozen households who had agreed to her idea—to take photos of families on whatever constituted their front porch… As part of the Front Porch Project (which is also raising donations for the local chapter of Meals on Wheels), Isacson asked her subjects to submit their thoughts in writing on domestic living during the pandemic. “I asked everyone to write something not so much about how they’re feeling now, but looking back to that week (in mid-March) when everything shifted.”

Coast Lines | Supervisor for District 2 to host weekly tele-town hall – Santa Cruz Sentinel, May 2020
Supervisor Zach Friend will host the next weekly tele-town hall with Community Bridges CEO Ray Cancino and Twin Lakes Church Lead Pastor Rene Schlaepfer from 6-7 p.m. Tuesday. Cancino and Schlaepfer will provide updates on how the non-profit and faith communities are dealing with COVID-19, provide an overview of the services they are providing (and their role in providing essential services) and challenges they see for the coming year. There will be ample time for questions. It’s the same call in number and meeting ID as the previous town halls. The telephone town hall can be accessed at: Call: 831-454-2222, Meeting ID: 145384#.

Rebecca Garcia, Mayor’s Message | Watsonville moves forward to meet needs of seniors – Santa Cruz Sentinel, April 2020
One of the main reasons that seniors attend [Watsonville Senior Center] is to get a daily lunch from Meals on Wheels which is always delicious. Several non-profits also provide services to the seniors throughout the week. Project Scout provides tax assistance. Family Services Agency provides peer counseling and referral services. Senior Citizen Legal Services provides legal services. Senior Network Services provides a variety of assistance services such as money management, caregiver support and senior housing…The coronavirus pandemic has closed our Senior Center. Consequently, we continue to connect with and support our seniors. Weekly we call each of our seniors to see how they are doing. One of our seniors said, “The fact that you called us and asked how we are doing showed that you care. When I told you that I couldn’t find distilled water in stores so I can use for my breathing machine you had someone deliver it.”

Nonprofits Step Up to Prevent Hunger in Santa Cruz County – Good Times, April 2020
Programs that deliver food to the most vulnerable, like Meals on Wheels, Second Harvest Food Bank and Grey Bears, have seen an enormous spike in demand in recent weeks. Raymon Cancino, the CEO of Community Bridges… says demand has increased by 40% since the shelter-in-place order… [requiring the program to spend] $20,000 on extra refrigeration. Meals on Wheels delivers free complete daily meals to seniors age 60 and over and people with disabilities. The frozen meals, shipped in from southern California, are “good sound food, prepared well, and with reasonable variety,” [MOW participant] William Avery says. Cancino says the program aims to increase its output to two meals a day to those who need them. And though the program has benefitted from… donations and an increase in support from the state, MOW still needs funding to cover the cost of its increased capacity.

Thousands more eligible for emergency CalFresh (SNAP) benefits – Santa Cruz Sentinel, April 2020
Calfresh is the first line of defense for newly unemployed or furloughed employees facing an urgent need to provide food for themselves and their families… Under the recently passed Families First Act, emergency supplemental CalFresh benefits will increase the benefits for many households up to the monthly maximum. Additional emergency coronavirus relief is expected to augment this benefit even further. The Families First Act also established a new program, Pandemic EBT (P-EBT), that provides food assistance benefits for households with children who attend a school that has closed and who would otherwise receive free or reduced-price meals. P-EBT is available regardless of immigration status and households do not have to be enrolled in CalFresh in order to be eligible. P-EBT is not considered in a public charge test. Community Bridges’ Family Resource Centers are open and providing enrollment assistance.

Driscoll’s to Deploy More than $4 Million in Charitable Funds in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic – And Now You Know, April 2020
In addition to helping health care services in California, Driscoll’s has worked diligently to ensure that food banks and pantries have enough money and resources to feed Californian families. $600K in cash donations and $100K in product donations have been released to the following California organizations: Watsonville: Second Harvest, Casa de La Cultura, Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes, Salvation Army, and Community Bridges. “While our hope is that our donated resources positively impact communities in which our berries are grown and harvested, it’s going to take a commitment from the entire agriculture industry in order to properly support growers, farmworkers, and their families, and ensure families have access to fresh produce,” said J. Miles Reiter, Chairman and CEO. “We’re pleased that members of the produce industry have been committing resources during this time of need to support local food banks, healthcare providers, and workers across the entire food supply chain.”

Letters to the Editor: Commitment During Crisis – Good Times, April 2020
“Sometimes it takes a crisis for us to appreciate the tremendous service nonprofit workers provide to our community. Right now, across Community Bridges’ 10 programs, hundreds of childcare workers, social workers, Meals on Wheels drivers and kitchen staff, Lift Line drivers, advocates, receptionists, and WIC eligibility workers are still working to deliver and enroll people in essential services. Their commitment ensures our most vulnerable community members are fed, clothed and sheltered during this crisis. I want to thank my coworkers for their courage, their compassion, their dedication to others, and most importantly, for their willingness to offer support when their own lives are impacted. I hope that local government recognizes the contributions that nonprofit providers have made to support the health of our county during this emergency, and responds with real investment in our sustainability so we can continue to be a safety net in times of future crisis.” Ray Cancino | CEO, Community Bridges | Watsonville

Santa Cruz: All Public Schools to Close Thru May 5 – Times Publishing, March 2020
Clay Kempf, executive director of the countywide Seniors Council, said volunteers are definitely needed, suggesting Grey Bears, the Santa Cruz County Volunteer Center, and Meals on Wheels of Santa Cruz County. All meal sites in Santa Cruz County for seniors, including the Live Oak Senior Center, are closed due to the new social distancing rules to slow spread of the coronavirus COVID-19. Kempf said Meals on Wheels, a part of the nonprofit Community Bridges, is working to make sure people wanting a home-delivered meal in lieu of the hot lunch at a center, get one but he noted an increase in loneliness for those who enjoyed the communal sites.

Live Oak Elementary School wins Distinguished School Award – Santa Cruz Sentinel, March 2020
Live Oak Elementary School has been recognized as a California Distinguished School for its exemplary achievements in education for the second time since 2018. This year, the award was only eligible to California elementary schools that have demonstrated both exceptional student performance and an effort to close the achievement gap for all students… The district has built strong collaborative relationships in Live Oak that are founded on shared community assets and the strengths parents bring to decision-making and improvement processes. Active participation of engaged and empowered parents has resulted in effective and lasting change for their students. Live Oak School District is grateful for their fruitful, enduring partnerships with the East Cliff Health Center, First 5 of Santa Cruz County, the Live Oak Family Resource Center, the County Office of Education, County Supervisor Leopold, Cabrillo College, and many others that help schools deliver access to vital services and resources for families.

‘On the frontlines’: Nonprofits scramble to bring food to vulnerable amid coronavirus crisis – SC Sentinel, March 2020
With residents in Santa Cruz County — and much of the wider region — ordered to shelter in place, many local food programs say their phones have been ringing off the hook as vulnerable people search for help. Nonprofits Grey Bears and Community Bridges’ Meals on Wheels program, both of which deliver food to seniors at home, are each reporting marked increases… Meals on Wheels was forced to close its five in-person dining sites across Santa Cruz County. The program is now making home deliveries of prepared meals to the seniors who relied on those sites, on request. And on Monday and Tuesday alone, Meals on Wheels received about 30 new applications for meal deliveries — as many as it typically receives in a month. “We’re literally on the frontlines,” Community Bridges CEO Ray Cancino said, reflecting on working to meet the rising need in the community while the nonprofit faces uncertainty.

Health Officer: If You Don’t Want to Break the Law, Stay Home – Good Times, March 2020
Before the county announced its shelter-in-place order, Gov. Newsom called for the “home isolation” of all California residents 65 years and older, as well as all Californians with chronic medical conditions. “We are doing so with our eyes wide open at the magnitude of what that means, and the need to provide wraparound services to support our seniors in need of medical supplies, in need of meals and the like,” Newsom said at his press conference on Sunday. All Santa Cruz County seniors over age 65 are eligible to receive home-delivered meals through Meals on Wheels, regardless of income level. A suggested donation of $2.50 per meal is requested, but no senior will be denied if they can’t pay. Those looking to receive home meal deliveries can download an application at and email completed applications to

Many closed schools still serving meals – Santa Cruz Sentinel, March 2020
Schools across Santa Cruz County were shuttered Monday, the first day of what will be — at least — a week without class to mitigate the further spread of the new coronavirus. But food is still being served at numerous school sites for the many students who rely on their schools for breakfast and lunch… “Schools play an essential part in food security for our families,” said Edgar Landeros, program manager at Nueva Vista Community Resources… “With our working families trying to make ends meet all the time, and now the possibility of some furloughs or being laid off, it’s going to be very important that the schools continue to partner up and continue to offer those meals to the children that typically would receive a meal during the school year,” Landeros added.

Guest Commentary | A healthy response to COVID-19 – Santa Cruz Sentinel, March 2020
After speaking with our public health experts, here are some guidelines that will help save lives, preserve public health and assist our community [with responding to the coronavirus, COVID-19]: Follow the guidelines set forth and updated daily at Guidelines for a variety of situations, including workplaces, large gatherings, skilled nursing facilities and more, are available.  Right now, it is vital that people shelter in place until April 7th to avoid spread… These recommendations mean that our senior and vulnerable populations will be increasingly isolated.  If you know seniors, check in on them. Offer food, supplies and friendship. If you can help, Meals on Wheels needs funding and volunteers to bring food to vulnerable seniors. Volunteer at or 831-464-3180.

Santa Cruz seniors to see changes in services for their protection – KSBW, March 2020
Community Bridges is taking ‘aggressive’ steps to protect [elderly and people with underlying health conditions most vulnerable for COVID-19] while continuing to provide services. Senior clients at the Watsonville Senior Center will see changes to its food servicing policy and activity schedules… “The people that we’re serving are the highest at risk in our community and so we’re taking extra precautions,” said Raymon Cancino Chief Executive Officer Community Bridges… “We’re going to stop serving people at a table and asking them to take it home, so here is no congregate dining even with social distancing” said Cancino… “As of Monday, we’ll keep 25 of the most medically frail participants [at the Elderday site.] The others will be self-quarantined at home. We have mobilized [a mobile nursing unit] in the last few days that will go out and check on these patients,” said Amy Hanley, Marketing and Communications Manager.

Coast Line | Events changed amid coronavirus concerns – Santa Cruz Sentinel, March 2020
The following events have been [postponed] in light of coronavirus concerns: • Meals on Wheels for Santa Cruz County Rotary and Community Champions weeks that were scheduled for March 16-20 and March 23-27 has been postponed. Meals on Wheels for Santa Cruz County will notify the community when new dates have been determined for these community service weeks. For information, visit • Meals on Wheels for Santa Cruz County Food from the Heart luncheon scheduled for April 3 has been postponed. The luncheon has been rescheduled to this summer. Anyone that has already purchased tickets to the event, can elect to keep their reservation or receive a refund by emailing

Nonprofit Leaders Push for Workers’ Wage Equity – Good Times, March 2020
“Nonprofits are trying to balance that situation where we don’t want to cut services, and at the same time employees are hurting,” says Raymon Cancino, CEO of the nonprofit group Community Bridges. The nonprofit sector has banded together to ask the county government and other funders for a minimum 5% boost annually in their baseline funding for the next three years to help promote wage equity. They’re also asking that local government contracts include annual cost of living increases, a move that other local governments like San Francisco have already made… [Other] options include a possible social service bond measure or an ongoing request of local governments to allocate 1% of their general fund to providing social services, Cancino says.

Focus Ag Announces New Class – Good Times, March 2020
Focus Agriculture has announced the 21 community leaders selected for Class 31 to learn about agriculture in Santa Cruz County and the Pajaro Valley. The class includes: Raymon Cancino, Chief Executive Officer Community Bridges and Stephanie Connor Kent, Chief Nurse Executive, Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center/Sutter Health [and Community Bridges board member]…] Speakers ranging from farmers to elected officials to representatives from environmental groups will address the class. The sessions will cover such topics as ethnic groups in agriculture, new technology and diversity of commodities locally grown. In announcing the participants, Agri-Culture President Steve Bontadelli, said, “Community leaders will find this program beneficial and, in turn, growers who present information to the class will learn the public’s current perspective of local agriculture.”

County prepares for 2020 Census – Santa Cruz Sentinel, February 2020
Local organizations and agencies are partnering with the U.S. Census Bureau in preparing for the 2020 Census… To reach hard-to-count populations, the Bureau is working with Dientes Community Dental Care, Community Bridges, Salud Para La Gente, Grey Bears and Encompass Community Services. Hard-to-count populations include households with blended families or multi-generations, people who do not live in traditional housing, do not speak English fluently or have limited English proficiency, high density housing, undocumented or recent immigrants, renters and young children and babies. To account for the homeless population, the Bureau has partnered with the Association of Safe Communities, the Homeless Action Partnership and the Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County.

Community Bridges WIC going digital with app, new card – KION, February 2020
Starting Tuesday, [WIC] participants will be able to access their benefits through a card similar to a debit card and an app that can be used to check food balances and appointments, find stores and find qualifying food. Clients will start getting their cards at their next appointment, and all current clients are expected to have them by May 15. Those with paper coupons for Feb. 14 through May 14 can still use them until their next appointment. Pregnant, postpartum or breastfeeding women and children under 5 years old qualify for WIC benefits if they have incomes at 185% or less of the poverty level and/or receive Medi-Cal, CalFresh or cash aid qualify for WIC benefits.

Near Silicon Valley, Human Service Nonprofits Fail to Pay Living Wages – Nonprofit Quarterly, February 2020
human resources survey conducted by Community Bridges, in partnership with the Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County and the Human Care Alliance of Santa Cruz County (HCA), gives us reason to revisit how nonprofit personnel are faring in a growing economy with historically low unemployment… Even in a tight job market, almost 40 percent of the employees surveyed earn less than California’s minimum wage of $15/hour, slated to take effect next year, an hourly rate often considered as the threshold minimum of a livable wage… “More than a third of nonprofits surveyed,” according to Courtney Teague of Patch, “said they planned to change or reduce staffing to meet new wage requirements, and nearly a quarter said they planned to reduce services.”

Santa Cruz community to meet on gun violence – KSBW Monterey, February 2020
Edgar Landeros with Nueva Vista Community Resources is co-hosting next Tuesday night’s community meeting. “I think that it’s a great thing that we’re hosting this community meeting to bring both the Latino Community and the chief of police and that way we can create a safer community as well as a voice in this new license plate technology,” said Landeros. The community meeting is being held Tuesday evening beginning at 6 p.m. at the Nueva Vista Community Center/Beach Flats location at Liebrandt Ave.

Caroline’s Makes a Difference – Aptos Times, February 2020
Staff at Community Bridges were thrilled to receive a $20,000 award [from Caroline’s Nonprofit Thrift Shop] to support Renacer, the only Spanish-speaking support group for families of children with disabilities in Santa Cruz County. The group, at La Manzana Community Resources, offers workshops, resources, and peer support to parents with special needs children… The award will allow the program to continue to offer free child care and invest in new ADA-compliant books and toys for a more inclusive environment… “We are so grateful to Caroline’s for their generous award,” said Ray Cancino, Community Bridges’ CEO.

Dominican Hospital Awards Grants – Aptos Times, February 2020
Community Bridges [was awarded] $25,000 for the Wellness Navigation project, which will increase patient access to healthy food, nutrition education and other services, and will improve clients’ understanding of how to stay healthy. The Wellness Navigation Project will offer mobile health screenings, a lifestyle class, care transition referrals and food pantry distribution… [An additional] $25,000 for a collaboration among United Way of Santa Cruz County, Community Bridges, and Pajaro Valley Prevention and Student Assistance to provide support services for youth and families to promote health and wellness, college and career readiness, financial stability and community connection. The goal is to increase access to mental health services, workforce development and academic support.

Nonprofit workers struggle to make ends meet – Santa Cruz Sentinel, January 2020
The 2019 Human Care Alliance Nonprofit Wage and Benefit survey report shows that 62% of nonprofit employees cannot survive working one job… “Government’s inaction to address the growing poverty problem in Santa Cruz County is only contributing to the growing statistics,” Raymon Cancino, CEO of nonprofit Community Bridges said in the release. “As a sector of nonprofits trying to alleviate these conditions, we have limited ways to manage this growing crisis and, at times, are powerless due to the limited resources we have at our disposal to make meaningful impact.”

62% of Nonprofit Workers Need to Work More Than One Job to Survive – PR Newswire, January 2020
The escalating costs of housing and persistent low wages heavily influence nonprofit workers and result in implications distinctive to this sector. According to the survey, 62% of nonprofit workers report that they must have more than one job to support their families… “Government’s inaction to address the growing poverty problem in Santa Cruz County is only contributing to the growing statistics,” says Community Bridges’ Chief Executive Officer Raymon Cancino. “As nonprofits, we have limited ways to manage this growing crisis without expansion of funding.”

60% Of Nonprofit Workers In Santa Cruz County Need 2 Jobs – Santa Cruz Patch, January 2020
More than 220 employees and 30 nonprofit leaders took the survey, which was conducted by Human Care Alliance, a coalition of health and human services nonprofits in Santa Cruz County. Housing and low wages made it difficult for employees to live on a single job’s salary, the survey found… Raymon Cancino, chief executive officer of Watsonville-based nonprofit Community Bridges, said in the press release that government officials failed to address the county’s poverty problem. As nonprofits, we have limited ways to manage this growing crisis without expansion of funding,” he said.

Community leaders push for Census 2020 participation – Aptos Life, January 2020
According to Raymon Cancino, CEO of Community Bridges, Watsonville was grossly undercounted in the 2010 census… “If your community is undercounted, you’re getting less money for services…” When that happens, support for health insurance, hospitals, childcare, food assistance, schools, special education and early childhood development programs are impacted… Community Bridges’ resource centers will offer kiosks where people can log into an iPad and do it from there. “Our goal is to make the process as easy as possible,” Cancino said. “You are all working, contributing to this community. You count.”Patch

Growing old in a high cost of living community is recipe for homelessness – Santa Cruz Sentinel, December 2019
Across the nation, senior homelessness (defined as those ages 62 or older) has increased by 62% from 2007 to 2016. The common misconception when people think of homelessness is that co-occurring symptoms, such as substance abuse and mental health issues, are the sole cause of the growing senior homeless population and are deeply entangled with our perceptions of homelessness.

Showers, Shelters and A New Divide Over Santa Cruz Homelessness – Good Times, November 2019
Lisa Berkowitz has seen the shift [of a 64% increase in long-term homelessness] play out first hand at the downtown Santa Cruz site of the Meals on Wheels program that her organization Community Bridges runs for local seniors age 60 and older. A majority of those she sees are now homeless—about 51% of the more than 250 seniors the program served last year at its Louden Nelson Community Center site. “As hard as it is to be a person who is unhoused and having to look for shelter and food, it becomes that much more difficult and complicated for folks as they age,” Berkowitz says. “Anecdotally, what we hear from folks is in some instances, it’s a breakup of a relationship. There are a lot of folks who are Vietnam vets.”

Gratitude through Giving – Times Publishing, November 2019
“During this season of giving, I often get asked the following questions by donors, friends and family: ‘How can I ensure my donation matters, is used for the most good or ensure it will make a difference?’ Being on both sides of the fence, as a donor and as a nonprofit administrator, I understand these concerns and questions. [This article discusses] a few things you should consider before donating,” writes Ray Cancino, Community Bridges CEO. “In this upcoming season of giving, my recommendation is to go beyond name recognition and invest the time to really understand how your hard-earned dollar will be used. Taking these steps will help you make an informed decision and ensure that your money truly makes an impact.”

Community Bridges purchases property to house Lift Line fleet – Register Pajaronian, August 2019
WATSONVILLE — Community Bridges, one of the largest nonprofit agencies in Santa Cruz County, has purchased property on Ohlone Parkway in Watsonville to serve as the hub for its Lift Line fleet. Previously Lift Line was renting property on Ford Street in Watsonville, but the new property will provide a permanent location for Lift Line’s fleet of 17 vehicles. “Our purchase of the Ohlone Parkway property is exciting for both Community Bridges and the City of Watsonville,” Ray Cancino, Community Bridges CEO, said. Community Bridges’ plans for the property include installing publicly available charging stations for EVs and building a solar canopy to power both the building and its vehicles. Lift Line plans to move in October 2019 after $300,000 of renovations have been completed.

County employees follow new Lactation Accommodation Policy – Santa Cruz Sentinel, August 2019
SANTA CRUZ — With a new Lactation Accommodation Policy in place, female county employees have the support of their Santa Cruz County Supervisors and coworkers in providing the best nutrition for babies and in continuing to work as new moms. While there are lactation laws in place, “having a policy legitimizes the organization’s commitment to its workforce and ensures that all employees are informed of the organization’s support of lactating employees,” said Dana Wagner, chair of the Santa Cruz County Breastfeeding Coalition. The 13th annual Breastfeeding Health Fair and Walk is from 3-6 p.m. Aug. 23 at the Watsonville Plaza. The event will be hosted by Community Bridges’ Women Infants & Children Nutrition Program. It will include family activities, a DJ, community resource booths, healthy snacks, free T-shirts, raffles and more.

Promoting a Healthier Watsonville – Times Publishing, August 2019
WATSONVILLE — The 13th Annual Breastfeeding Health Fair and Walk takes place Friday, Aug. 23 from 3–6 p.m. in the Watsonville Plaza. This event supports the City of Watsonville’s resolution that proclaims August as Breastfeeding Awareness Month. Breastfeeding is one of the best preventative health measures and provides short and long term health benefits for both mothers and babies. Hosted by the Community Bridges Women, Infants & Children (WIC) Nutrition Program. WIC builds support for breastfeeding in our community, and establishes breastfeeding as normal and preferred.

Locals Flood to Fourth Annual Farm to Fork Gala – Times Publishing, August 2019
LA SELVA BEACH — The fourth annual Farm to Fork Gala, benefiting human services nonprofit Community Bridges, was held on August 3 at the La Selva Beach Clubhouse. Ray Cancino, CEO of Community Bridges, explained the impact that these funds will have on the people served by Community Bridges programs. “Donations from our generous crowd of friends will make it possible for us to install a new roof at the Fairgrounds Child Development Center, refresh the paint and repair the carpet at Elderday Adult Day Health Care, strengthen the counseling program, and add additional hours for drop-in crises services, at our four family resource centers.”

‘These are our kids’ – Register Pajaronian, July 2019
WATSONVILLE — More than 500 people gathered at Watsonville’s City Plaza for Friday’s Lights for Liberty vigil, a worldwide event planned across five continents hoping to raise awareness of conditions in the immigration detention facilities at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Community Bridges named Nonprofit of the Year – Register Pajaronian, June 2019
Assemblymember Robert Rivas has named Community Bridges the 2019 Nonprofit of the Year for the 30th Assembly District. The organization was honored for its public service at the 2019 California Nonprofits Day Luncheon on June 5 at the South Lawn of the California State Capitol.

Free Lunch for Kids – Aptos Times, June 2019
La Manzana Community Resources, one of Community Bridges’ Family Resource Centers, is sponsoring a free summer lunch program that enables kids to receive healthy lunches over the summer. Join us to ensure no child goes hungry by letting all children and their families know about this program. During summer vacation, many food-insecure children lose access to free or reduced priced meals, but this valuable program provides no cost and convenient access to meals for kids in need. Click the link in the title for participating sites.

Live Oak Field of Dreams – Aptos Times, June 2019
Three years ago, Live Oak community member, Bill Simpkins, had a vision for creating a soccer field and running path that could be a gathering place for the whole community. This dream is now becoming a reality with the long-awaited groundbreaking ceremony, which took place at Shoreline Middle School on Monday, May 20th. The multimillion-dollar, multi-year project includes the installation of an artificial turf field, a perimeter running path, lighting, and picnic tables, which together with the Simpkins Swim Center, creates a community sports complex in the heart of Live Oak.

Council OK’s service grants amidst community scrutiny – Register Pajaronian, June 2019
Tuesday’s Watsonville City Council meeting started with a contentious pushback from the public, as the council presented the Social & Community Service Grants Subcommittee’s funding recommendations for the 2019-21 fiscal years. Several community members associated with nonprofits who had their funding slashed — or zeroed in some cases — voiced their displeasure with how the subcommittee distributed the available $200,000, which come from the City’s general fund.

Can Santa Cruz Hold Onto Nonprofit Workers? – Good Times, May 2019
The Human Care Alliance, a collaborative of more than 27 Santa Cruz County nonprofits, is aiming to better understand the living conditions of nonprofit workers like Van Nuys through a new survey. Nonprofit leaders hope the results from the survey, which is currently underway, can serve as a springboard for discussions with county officials about two realities they face: Their budgets are already strapped as they try to pay workers enough to survive with the high cost of living locally, and big budget gaps loom with the state’s minimum wage set to continue increasing until it reaches $15 an hour in 2023. Now, nonprofit directors are wondering whether they’ll be able to find enough additional funding to close the gap, or if they’ll have to cut back on some of the services they provide on behalf of the county.

Lift Line acquires two electric vehicles – Santa Cruz Sentinel, April 2019
Community Bridges Lift Line Paratransit Dial-A-Ride Program is replacing two gas-powered shuttles with two electric vehicle shuttles. Friday’s launch of the electric vehicles and a ribbon cutting ceremony was held at the Lift Line fleet facility in Watsonville. Santa Cruz County Supervisor Zach Friend, Community Bridges CEO Raymon Cancino, Veronica Eady from the California Air Resources Board and other local leaders attended the event.“Transitioning to EVs allows Community Bridges to continue our efforts to be good stewards of both the environment and the agency’s finances,” said Raymon Cancino, Community Bridges CEO in a press release. “This program is investing in the long-term health of Santa Cruz County, and we are proud to provide opportunities to empower our community.”

Community Bridges Lift Line Reaches Milestone – Register-Pajaronian, April 2019
Representatives from agencies and organizations across Santa Cruz County and as far away as Sacramento gathered Friday at Lift Line’s fleet facility in Watsonville for a special unveiling. Two new electric vehicle (EV) shuttles and two new public charging stations were introduced for the Lift Line Paratransit Dial-A-Ride Program, which is operated by local non-profit organization Community Bridges.

Business Digest: Lift Line receives $242,000 for electric transit – Santa Cruz Sentinel, April 2019
RTC gives $242,000 to Life Line.Community Bridges program Lift Line received $242,000 from the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission to purchase an electric vehicle for transit use and two charging stations. Funding was provided through the California Climate Investments Low Carbon Transit Operations Program and is Lift Line’s third electric vehicle.

List of unmet transit needs goes to Regional Transportation Commission – Santa Cruz Sentinel, April 2019
Grace Blakeslee, transportation planner with the Regional Transportation Commission, said the [unmet needs] list is a tool to inform the community and decision makers about the paratransit and transit needs of seniors and people living with disabilities, and also serves as a reference to identify projects for grant funding…. [The] addressed needs include continuous funding for same-day paratransit medical rides, paratransit rides to destinations outside of the county by Community Bridges Lift Line, increased outreach to eligible riders, and continued Santa Cruz METRO transit services.

Emerald Bay Apartments shows us all how to be leaders – Santa Cruz Sentinel, March 2019
Besides being a top resource in the Live Oak area, [Live Oak Community Resources] has a proven tutoring model and successful one-on-one tutoring program at their home site which made them a natural partner for this project… [Additionally] The Homework Club program takes place every Thursday in the Emerald Bay Apartments Community Room and is supervised by staff from LOCR and Monarch Services along with support from a number of high school volunteers.

Homelessness concerns rising in San Lorenzo Valley – Santa Cruz Sentinel, February 2019
The unincorporated San Lorenzo Valley region of the county, including Felton, Ben Lomond and Boulder Creek, typically has offered few resources for those in need of a free meal, place to sleep and shower or to connect with service providers. Nonprofit and faith community organizers such as Mountain Community Resources’ food pantry and Felton Presbyterian Church’s shower-food outreach program fill in some gaps, however.

Grant will allow expanded immigrant services – Register-Pajaronian, February 2019
The Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County has been awarded a $731,000 grant that will allow the organization to expand its services to immigrant communities in Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito counties. The free services include assisting applicants who are seeking Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and helping immigrants seeking naturalization and other assistance.

Community Bridges receives grant from the California Air Resources Board – Register-Pajaronian, January 2019
[Community Bridges] received a $270,000 Community Air Grant from the California Air Resources Board. That money, coupled with Measure D funds, has been used to purchase two new electric buses for Lift Line, which provides rides for seniors and people with disabilities.

Commentary: Housing crisis breeds opportunity – Santa Cruz Sentinel, October 2018
By forcing deep problems into the light of day, crises can focus our attention on their origins and impacts, and inspire us to work collectively to build transformative solutions…[No Place Like Home] was initiated by our community partners: the area’s largest non-profit service providers — Community Bridges, the Community Action Board, and California Rural Legal Assistance — as well as SEIU Local 521, whose members work for and serve the city and county. Collectively we designed a research project to understand how the crisis affects the community, particularly the most vulnerable and undercounted: low- and moderate-income renters.

“Public charge”: Nonprofits leaders, officials respond to proposal – Santa Cruz Sentinel, October 2018
It could soon become harder for immigrants who use services such as food stamps or Medicaid to become permanent residents under new rules proposed Wednesday by the Trump administration…“We’ve already experienced people saying will this impact us, and we want to [be] very clear to our community that it will not at this time,” said Ray Cancino, CEO of Community Bridges, at a news conference Thursday at the nonprofit’s Watsonville headquarters.

Video: La Costa central reacciona sobre la regla de la carga pública – Entravision, October 2018
Líderes de la costa central reaccionan sobre la regla de la carga pública. La organización Puentes de la Comunidad dice que no se van a ver afectados con la  regulación.

Service providers, elected leaders decry changes, urge public to comment  – Register-Pajaronian, October 2018
A group of service providers and elected officials gathered in Community Bridges’ new Watsonville location Thursday to discuss a proposal from the Trump administration that could drastically change rules for immigrants applying for residency…For now, Community Bridges CEO Raymon Cancino stressed that immigrants should not give up the assistance programs on which they rely. “Community Bridges programs are not impacted,” he said. “We want them to know that this is still a safe space.”

Housing crisis impacting city and county employees, survey reveals – UCSC Press Release, October 2018
Those who work for and serve the city and county of Santa Cruz are being impacted by the housing crisis, according to UC Santa Cruz researchers who surveyed nearly 500 people in the latest installment of an ongoing community-based effort to document how people are coping with rising costs and limited availability. In this installment, McKay and Greenberg collaborated with Service Employee International Union Local 521, whose members include city and county employees, as well as employees of two of the county’s largest nonprofits: Community Bridges and Salud Para la Gente.

What we do or fail to do: a message from our CEO, Raymon Cancino – September 2018
Community Bridges, the largest human services agency in Santa Cruz County, is stating “enough.” We will continue to protect families and individuals impacted by the proposed policy change, and we will advocate for all people who would be disenfranchised by it.

Qué hacemos o no hacemos: un mensaje de nuestro CEO, Raymon Cancino
Community Bridges | Puentes de La Comunidad, la agencia de servicios humanos más grande en el condado de Santa Cruz expresamos, basta. Seguimos protegiendo a las familias y las personas afectadas por el cambio de la propuesto, y defenderemos a todas las personas que quedarán afectados.

Community Bridges moves into new headquarters – Register-Pajaronian, September 2018
Community Bridges has settled into its new offices in downtown Watsonville, bringing its headquarters closer to the majority of people it serves. Established in 1977, the organization runs 10 programs, such as family resource centers, nutrition programs and programs for seniors including Elderday and Meals on Wheels. It serves about 22,000 people annually, according to Community Bridges CEO Raymon Cancino.

SCCRTC Measure D Update – Times Publishing Group, August 2018
It is construction season and the cities of Capitola, Santa Cruz, Scotts Valley, and Watsonville, the County of Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz METRO, Community Bridges, and the RTC are putting Measure D funds to work – filling potholes, building new bicycle and walking paths, replacing outdated buses, increasing transportation service for seniors and people with disabilities, and designing major infrastructure projects.

Breastfeeding education – Register-Pajaronian, August 2018
Azucena Paniagua helps the public learn about breastfeeding pumps Friday in Watsonville Plaza during the 12th Annual Breastfeeding Health Fair and Walk. This event included family activities, a live DJ, community resource booths, healthy snacks, free T-shirts, raffles and more.

Breastfeeding walk, fair returns – Register-Pajaronian, August 2018
The 12th annual Breastfeeding Health Fair and Walk will return Aug. 10 from 3-6 p.m. at the Watsonville Plaza. Hosted by the Community Bridges Women, Infants & Children (WIC) Nutrition Program, the event includes family activities, a live DJ, community resource booths, healthy snacks, free T-shirts, raffles and more.

Dinner benefits Community Bridges – Register-Pajaronian, July 2018
The third annual Farm to Fork Dinner, benefiting human services nonprofit Community Bridges, will be held Aug. 4 from 5:30-9 p.m. at Aptos Village Park. The public is invited to enjoy a locally sourced gourmet dinner prepared by the Teen Kitchen Project, local wines, Discretion Brewing beer, a live band, a live auction and an address by Tom Broz, owner of Live Earth Farm and president of the Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau Board of Directors.

A time to eat, and play – Register-Pajaronian, June 2018
During the school year, free lunches provided to low-income children are frequently the only meals they get…thanks to a program run by La Manzana Community Resources, those kids can still get their lunch, and outdoor activities to go along with it. The organization offers free hot meals at 10 sites in Watsonville and two in North County. In past years, program officials say they served as many as 14,000 meals to children at 10 South County sites and two in North County. Any child under 18 can show up for a meal.

Santa Cruz looks to long-term liability with $8M public pension payoff – Santa Cruz Sentinel, June 2018
Seeking to fend off millions in interest payments in coming years, Santa Cruz city leaders will look this month to prepaying an extra $8 million of the city’s public pension obligations. The strategy is part of a multipronged approach to keep the city away from the fiscal brink, as the city faces decreasing traditional revenue sources, higher employee and service costs and ballooning deferred infrastructure replacement needs. One such financial strategy recently yielded positive results, as city voters appeared to favor increasing city sales taxes to 9.25 percent in the June 5 primaries, according to preliminary election results.

Coast Line: Community Bridges CEO Raymon Cancino honored – Santa Cruz Sentinel, May 2018
Community Bridges CEO Raymon Cancino has been awarded San Francisco State University’s Alumni of the Year honor. Cancino was presented with the award Friday at a graduation ceremony for the university’s school of public affairs and civic engagement…“I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to serve in a noble effort to improve the conditions of the world around me, and to have a platform to create social justice and equity in the community we call home,” said Cancino.

Community Bridges CEO named SF State Alumni of the Year – Register-Pajaronian, May 2018
Raymon Cancino, chief executive officer of Community Bridges, has been named Alumni of the Year of San Francisco State University’s (SFSU) School of Public Affairs and Civic Engagement (PACE)…According to PACE program faculty, Cancino “embodies the passion, skill and leadership we hope defines the work and careers of all our students.”

South County housing crisis to be discussed May 2 – UC Santa Cruz Newscenter, April 2018
The regional housing crisis is causing extreme hardship for renters in Watsonville and South County, with a recent survey by UC Santa Cruz indicating more than one-third are spending half their income on rent. “We talked with over 500 renters in Watsonville and Freedom, and two-thirds are spending more than 30 percent of their household income on rent and utilities,” said UC Santa Cruz Sociology Professor [and Community Bridges Board member] Steve McKay. “On top of that, overcrowding is a real problem.” [The study, “No Place Like Home: The Santa Cruz County Affordable Housing Crisis Report,” was produced in collaboration with Community Bridges.]

Group floats affordable housing measure – Register-Pajaronian, April 2018
A newly-formed group hopes to convince the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors to place a bond measure on the November 2018 ballot that would fund affordable housing projects. The group — Affordable Housing Santa Cruz County — held a press conference Thursday morning to discuss the $250 million bond…“The housing crisis affects us all,” [Community Bridges CEO Raymon Cancino] said. “We can’t keep going down the same path we’ve been on.”

Elected officials, community leaders help deliver meals – Register-Pajaronian, March 2018
Community Champions Week is part of a nationwide campaign that aims to increase awareness and encourage support for senior nutrition needs and services…The services are more than a way to feed hungry seniors, Meals on Wheels Program Director Lisa Berkowitz said. For many, the delivery can be the only social interaction they get. “We want to make the public aware of the issues regarding senior hunger, and the fact that we have a rapidly aging senior population,” Berkowitz said. “And it’s very difficult to meet the needs of this population with the funding we have.”

Santa Cruz community center challenging city grant funding scheme – Santa Cruz Sentinel, March 2018
As the Santa Cruz City Council looks Tuesday to distribute its federal community grant funding for the coming year, one local nonprofit is pushing back against the proposed spending plan. Nueva Vista Community Resources, which operates the Beach Flats Community Center, is Santa Cruz’s primary social service provider for the city’s Latino community. The program serves more than 1,500 people annually in the Beach Flats and Lower Ocean neighborhoods.

Kara Meyberg Guzman, Editor’s Notebook: The Sentinel’s new editorial board – Santa Cruz Sentinel, March 2018
As election season is officially underway, I am proud to announce the Sentinel’s new editorial board. Along with Sentinel Opinion Editor Don Miller and Features Editor Anthony L. Solis, our board will consist of five community members…Raymon Cancino: CEO of Community Bridges and an Aptos resident…The board will begin researching and meeting with candidates in late March, and you’ll start seeing our editorials with our endorsements for the major local races by early April.

Locally known acupuncturist starts free health clinic in Felton – Press Banner, March 2018
The partnership between local herbalist and acupuncturist Michael Tierra and Roxanne Moore, program manager for Mountain Community Resources happened, you could say, naturally. “We were looking for new creative things that might be helpful and fill a need here,” Moore said. Last weekend, Tierra and his wife Lesley, hosted the first “Free East West Natural Health Clinic” at MCR in Felton. The pair, along with other volunteer specialists, provided services including acupuncture, cupping and providing herbal supplements—all free—to any adult or children that attended.

Letter to the Editor, Feb. 27: Attacks on Community Bridges unwarranted – Register-Pajaronian, February 2018
Community Bridges and Service Employees International Union, Local 521 have been in negotiations for many months, trying to reach an amicable collective bargaining agreement addressing salary increases and other items. These are difficult negotiations because of the funding challenges that nonprofit community organizations are facing during these difficult economic times and the rising cost of living in this area.

Coast Line: Parent seminar scheduled for Jan. 29 – Santa Cruz Sentinel, January 2018
Triple P presents “The Power of Positive Parenting” from 6-7:30 p.m. Monday at Bay View Elementary, Library, 1231 Bay St. In this free seminar, Sandra Rodelo of Community Bridges La Manzana Community Resources will cover how to provide positive learning environments for children, use assertive discipline, have realistic expectations and take care of yourself.

Coast Line: Preschooler discipline class starts Jan. 30 – Santa Cruz Sentinel, January 2018
“Positive Discipline for Parents of Preschoolers,” an eight-week parenting class series starts Jan. 30. The class will be 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Feb. 20 at Live Oak Community Resources, 1740 17th Ave. Trainer Colleen Murphy will help parents of preschoolers learn new ways to understand their children’s behavior, how to set limits with kindness and firmness, and ways to encourage their children to cooperate and become more capable. Cost is $80 per person and scholarships are available.

Coast Line: Volunteer center hosts MLK day events in Santa Cruz – Santa Cruz Sentinel, January 2018
The Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County is recruiting volunteers for a series of events on Monday, Martin Luther King, Jr. day. From noon to 3 p.m. at the Santa Cruz Bible Church, 440 Frederick St., volunteers will make greeting cards for Meals on Wheels participants. Contact: 831-476-7284 ext. 108 or

Quick Bites: Annual Meals on Wheels lunch around the corner – Santa Cruz Sentinel, January 2018
The fifth annual Food from the Heart luncheon, benefiting Meals on Wheels for Santa Cruz County, is Friday, Feb. 9, at the Chaminade Resort & Spa (One Chaminade Lane). The Valentine’s Day-themed event is from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. There will be a “tasting room” by local vendors, catered lunch, live music, a live auction featuring date-night packages and a Sweetheart Award presentation. Tickets are $60 per person or $550 for a table of 10. See for details and tickets.

Santa Cruz’s most vulnerable may bear brunt of environmental disasters, study finds – Santa Cruz Sentinel, January 2018
The city’s most vulnerable communities may bear the brunt of disasters caused by climate change, a new analysis says…. “This [the Beach Flats community] is the last enclave of affordability for low-income individuals in Santa Cruz,” said Raymond Cancino, CEO of Community Bridges, a nonprofit that operates a community center in the neighborhood. “Research has shown that these folks are less likely to access FEMA money and are likely to have less money in their bank accounts to recover from these kinds of events.”

Coast Line: Parent workshop on disobedience set for Jan. 18 in Ben Lomond – Santa Cruz Sentinel, January 2018
Triple P presents a free parenting workshop, “How to Handle Disobedience,” 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday Highlands Park Child Development Center, 8500 Highway 9. Cori Burt of Community Bridges – Mountain Community Resources will cover: Common reasons why children refuse to cooperate or follow instructions; how to prevent disobedience and increase cooperation; and how to respond calmly and consistently.

Under threat of deportation, immigrant parents helped to designate caretakers
 – Santa Cruz Sentinel, January 2018
Growing stress and uncertainty in the immigrant community drove a group of attorneys, nonprofits and volunteers to offer free guidance to designate caretakers of children whose parents face deportation…The coalition is comprised of Proyecto Plan Familiar, Monarch Services, Community Bridges, Sanctuary Santa Cruz and Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County.

Santa Cruz’ annual MLK Youth Day serves as a reminder – Santa Cruz Sentinel, January 2018
Beyond play and celebration, their parents said they hoped the kids would walk away from the sixth annual Martin Luther King Youth Day educated, empowered and more aware of the community’s social activism…Participating organizations included: Senderos, the Diversity Center, Walnut Avenue Women’s and Family Center, Community Bridges, Cabrillo Black Student Union, the UN Association and more.

Wage Equity Survey

Community Bridges partners with the Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County and the Human Care Alliance of Santa Cruz County (HCA) to study the prevalence and impact of low wages in the local nonprofit social service sector. HCA conducted its first wage equity survey an 2016 and a second in 2019, and both studies identified pervasive wage inequity and alarming impact on nonprofit staff and their organizations. Community Bridges is committed to advancing a community-based campaign to build a more just and equitable community that ensures that working in public service does not equate to a life of poverty.

Survey results and additional information on the wage equity campaign are linked below.
Nonprofit Wage Equity Campaign Overview
Nonprofit Wage Equity Brief
2019 Nonprofit Wage and Benefit Survey Results

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🌟 Join us in celebrating the newest additions to our vibrant Community Bridges family: Gabriela, Marissa, Rosa, and Kaleigh! 🎉 They are poised to infuse our programs with a renewed sense of energy and positivity. 🌈 Let's extend them a warm and heartfelt welcome! 👏👋At Community Bridges, our dedication to changing lives and enriching communities remains unwavering. If you're passionate about our mission and values, we invite you to explore the exciting career opportunities available on our website at 🌐✨ ... See MoreSee Less
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El Sabado, 20 de abril, acompanenos para un taller virtual GRATIS!Presentado por Mayra Martinez, asiste a este taller "Fomentando La Asistencia a La Escuela" para aprender las razones comunes por las que los ninos non asisten a clase o a la escuela, conseguir consejos de comunicacion efective para abordar preocupacions relacionadas con las escuela, y como colaborar con los maestros y ultilizar los recursos escolares para apoyar la educacion de su hijo/aInscríbase para conseguir el enlace de la reunión por ¿Necesita ayuda? Comuníquese con Mayra Martinez al (831) 288-2856 en¿No conoce Zoom? Visite el Centro de Ayuda de Zoom en Este programa es posible gracias a una colaboración entre los Primeros 5 del Condado de Santa Cruz, la Agencia de Servicios de Salud del Condado de Santa Cruz (MHSA-Prop 63)y el Departamento de Servicios Humanos del Condado de Santa Cruz ... See MoreSee Less
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