Stories of Change

CWS Kits and Blankets distribution at Community Bridges

Bridging the Gap in Disaster Response

“Our lives have changed.”

“This was traumatic.”

“It’s going to take so many years to recover from this.”

These are just some of the things that Liliana Zamora, program manager at Community Bridges, heard from residents of Pajaro, California following the intense flooding that occurred in March. Pajaro is a community in Monterey River County and is separated from the nearby city, Watsonville, by a bridge. The physical divide, however, isn’t the only thing that separates the two cities.

Unlike Watsonville, Pajaro is primarily a Spanish-speaking town and most residents are Latino farm workers. These differences and the barriers that come with them became evident during the floods. “A lot of these families are low income so they don’t have the ability to just move or rent somewhere else. Many are not homeowners so they didn’t qualify for FEMA. Some speak indigenous languages that we don’t know,” Liliana explained.

Community Bridges works to bridge the gap between these communities by providing critical resources to the people of Pajaro. “Our mission is to deliver essential services to families to help them have a great quality of life,” said Liliana. She explained that when the flood happened, Community Bridges focused on ensuring that, “1.) families were safe, 2.) families were with relatives or in local shelters and 3.) that they had the essential needs.”

Eventually, Community Bridges began to run out of supplies so Liliana connected with CWS through a colleague. “We received CWS School Kits, Hygiene Kits, Buckets and Blankets. They came at a good time because it was when Pajaro had re-opened and families were starting to go home so they were able to actually start the cleaning process,” Liliana told us.

In every challenge the families were facing, CWS Kits and Blankets were available to help them through the chaos. “Most kids lost everything at home. The flood happened at one in the morning so they didn’t take much with them. The supplies were great for them to have something when they went back to school. Many families were staying in their cars so the blankets were very helpful for them. When the families went back home, they didn’t have any cleaning supplies or anything so the buckets were a good start for them,” Liliana said.

Amongst the fear and devastation, Liliana heard from the families, the sounds of hope still echoed through. “We are thankful,” Liliana said. Through our Kits and Blankets and the immense love that is put into them, CWS is dedicated to providing hope and bridging the gap between communities that are often forgotten.

Click here to learn about how you can support our CWS Kits and Blanket program and help us respond to disasters like this one.