Nonprofit donates supplies, relief fund to low-income residents affected by wildfire in San Mateo County

Half of Pescadero residents live below the poverty level, while lost job income due to wildfires make relocating and feeding families difficult.
SAN MATEO COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- Across the region, fire ravaged communities are fond of saying they're resilient and will recover from their losses. One community on the far south end of San Mateo County isn't as fortunate.

Pescadero is facing special needs because its residents are among the poorest in the Bay Area. The economy is an important part of Building A Better Bay Area.

Thanks to generous donations of food and supplies, the social service group Puente has been able to meet immediate needs for hundreds of families who had to evacuate. Some are starting to return home, while the CZU Lightning Complex Fire destroyed the homes of many others.

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"I appreciate it, and I believe our whole town appreciate this, you like, I mean, we could have really went to bottom rock," said Pescadero resident Alessia Macias.

However, unlike other communities, Pescadero has a long-term challenge. Nearly half of its residents live below the poverty level of $26,000 for a family of four.

"A lot of the people that lost work hours are farm workers, but also the people that work at the local restaurants, the local shops are losing business, and this is on top of the loss of jobs and income that people were suffering because of the pandemic," said Rita Mancera, Puente's executive director.

Aware of the need, Puente began its own fire relief fund. The Silicon Valley Community Foundation in a few days is expected to provide an emergency grant as well. Some Pescadero area fire victims are reluctant to seek help from government because they lack documentation. Others are in a state of flux, still in need of temporary or rental housing when they have no jobs or income.

RELATED: CZU Complex Fire evacuees deal with more than displacement, COVID-19 concerns limit options

"We have set up our minds to raise at least $350,000 so that we can provide relief to the families that were affected in our county," said Mancera.

In addition to cash, Puente says it especially needs diapers, wipes and toiletries. For details how to donate money or supplies, call Puente at (650) 879-1691 or go to their website here.


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