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 communitybridges.org/mealsonwheels and email completed applications to email@example.com.
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 www.santacruzhealth.org/coronavirus. 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 https://communitybridges.org/mealsonwheels/ 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 communitybridges.org. • 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
A 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