Volunteers step up in flooded Pajaro, where many lack food, clothing -- and work
Published in Weather News
PAJARO, Calif. — Jessica Sanchez felt awful about the catastrophic flooding that displaced hundreds of people in this Monterey County farm town.
She felt worse when she heard families were sleeping in their cars because some of the shelters had reached capacity and they couldn't afford hotels.
"I have two daughters and I can't imagine having to sleep in a car when it's cold and raining outside," said Sanchez, 34. "There's also the fear of a tree falling on them."
So Tuesday night, she and her friend Sara Perez, 36, joined a group of volunteers to feed those affected by the flood that occurred when the Pajaro River breached a levee late Friday.
The two women handed out foam containers of chicken soup, pan dulce and cups of atole, a hot Mexican drink, near the Pajaro River bridge in Watsonville, across the water from Pajaro.
Sanchez said it was only the second day they had come together to feed families after at least 70 people, including children, showed up Monday.
"We ran out of food, and I felt so terrible because people were still showing up with their children," she said.
More than 70 people came again Tuesday night. Some drove, others stepped out of their cars and made their way to the food lines, and some walked across the bridge from their homes in Pajaro with their children.
The families were mostly those from two-story apartment buildings who had refused to evacuate. The town has power and gas but no potable water. Residents collected rainwater that they could use to flush toilets.
At the bridge, volunteers handed out tacos and hot chocolate over police tape that kept people from trying to get back inside Pajaro. A security guard helped pass cases of water to the families.
©2023 Los Angeles Times. Visit latimes.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.