Here are ways you can help those affected by the Pajaro River levee flooding

The breach of the Pajaro River levee that flooded the town of Pajaro.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Have something to say? Lookout welcomes letters to the editor, within our policies, from readers. Guidelines here.

The Community Foundation Santa Cruz County and the Community Foundation for Monterey County are coordinating efforts to help thousands of local residents affected by the Pajaro River levee breach.

The river marks the dividing line between Santa Cruz and Monterey counties. While most of the evacuees live in Pajaro, in Monterey County, many of the closest shelters and services are on the Santa Cruz County side.

Both community foundations have launched dedicated funds to provide emergency assistance and relief. Donations will be directed through local nonprofits who provide food, emergency shelter and financial assistance to evacuees as well as to longer-term recovery efforts.

“Generous people from both counties have been reaching out to ask where their donations can make the most impact,” said Susan True, CEO of Community Foundation Santa Cruz County. “Due to the strong collaboration between our counties, we urge donations to either fund and assure you that your gift will make an immediate impact for the families of Pajaro.”

How to donate

Donations to the Santa Cruz County Disaster Fund can be made online at or by mailing a check to a check payable to “CFSCC” to:

Community Foundation Santa Cruz County
7807 Soquel Dr., Aptos, CA 95003

Please put “Storm Relief Fund” in the memo line.

Donations can also be made by calling the Santa Cruz foundation at 831-662-2000 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Donations to the Monterey County Storm Relief fund can be made online at or by mailing a check payable to “CFMC” to:

Community Foundation for Monterey County
2354 Garden Rd., Monterey, CA 93940

Please put “Storm Relief Fund” in the memo line.

Donations can also be made by calling the Monterey foundation at 831-375-9712 weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Raices y Cariño
The not-for-profit LLC is accepting donations and seeking volunteers to help evacuees. Text 831-288-3105 to coordinate pickups and drop-offs.

To volunteer, email Volunteers are needed Monday, March 20, through Wednesday, March 29, in four-hour shifts between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.

The organization is seeking the following donations:

  • Underwear and socks (new only)
  • Clothes for children aged 5-17
  • Backpacks
  • Toiletries such as toothpaste, toothbrushes and toilet paper
  • Backpacks
  • Water in refillable jugs
  • Nonperishable food for evacuees who are staying in their cars

Note: Raices y Cariño is not accepting donations of adult or baby clothes.

Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County

Flood cleanup efforts could begin the weekend of March 25, weather permitting. Click here for updates on where volunteers are needed. You can register here to join a cleanup crew, and a volunteer coordinator will contact you.

If you or someone you know needs help cleaning up a home or business, click here to request free support.

You can also sign up for four-hour shifts through the Volunteer Center to help partner agencies sort goods for evacuees. Slots are available through Wednesday, March 29, between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Click here for more information.

Pet rescue

The SPCA Monterey County is coordinating to help pets left behind by evacuees. The organization can be reached at 831-373-2631.

Editorial and opinion coverage of the Pajaro flooding and aftermath

In a video for Lookout’s Community Voices opinion section, photojournalist Kevin Painchaud talks to residents who have...

Lookout columnist Claudia Sternbach is horrified by the mud, water and sludge oozing into her husband’s longtime Pajaro...

Storm Central keeps you updated as another atmospheric river rolls through Santa Cruz County. Check back here as Lookout...

Latest Stories


Be the first to know all the big, breaking news in Santa Cruz. Sign up to get Lookout alerts sent straight to your phone here or below.