The following is a letter to the editor, published here as opinion. The opinions expressed in this letter are those of the writer. If you would like to submit a letter to the editor feel free to write to [email protected].
Editor’s note: The following is from Megan Barber Allende, President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Mendocino County.
The first two and half months of 2023 have brought unprecedented winter storms to California, foreshadowing the challenging and unstable weather patterns ahead. Across the state, we celebrated rainfall while grappling with the many challenges it left in its wake.
With diverse terrain and regions, Mendocino County is woven together by people helping one another and the network of nonprofits that diligently “open their doors” to meet the community’s physical, mental, social, and spiritual needs. “Never are we more aware of the critical role of neighbors and local nonprofits than during times of disaster.“
When disaster strikes, our safety-net organizations provide food, clothing, gas, shelter, and emotional support. And these organizations rely on the Community Foundation’s philanthropic expertise to rally community members near and far to support the safety and well-being of those they serve.
In January, the raging wind and falling trees devastated our south coast region. The Community Foundation swiftly released $45,000 to Mendonoma Health Alliance and Action Network for immediate assistance, case management, and debris cleanup. The Community Foundation also granted $30,000 to North Coast Opportunities to assist Creekside Cabins residents in Willits after they endured a devastating sinkhole that made their homes unreachable.
As February ended, it looked like the “storm had passed,” but then the snow blanketed tree tops and mountain peaks, and we collectively braced for what was to come. With freezing temperatures, treacherous roads, and power outages, the Community Foundation mobilized funds to the northern part of the county, where residents were disproportionately impacted. This week the Foundation distributed $15,000 to Harwood Memorial Park, Inc. and the Bell Springs Volunteer Fire Department to help our neighbors in Laytonville and Leggett.
Over the next few months, the Community Foundation will monitor emerging disaster needs and meet with our nonprofit partners throughout the county to ensure our collective preparedness. While state and federal dollars are essential after a crisis, we know from experience that they are released once the damage has been quantified. Our local organizations and networks must be funded, prepared, and connected before disaster strikes.
Your generosity powers every aspect of our work; we couldn’t respond to these storms without you. If you feel compelled to support our disaster response and preparedness efforts, please visit our website or call me at (707) 468-9882.
Thank you for your continued trust and partnership with the Community Foundation.
Stay safe, Mendocino County.