The blue skies and nearly balmy weather on Saturday, January 28th 2023 defied our recent memory of atmospheric rivers and deluges of rain. Many areas in Santa Cruz county were devastated by the dramatic weather, waves, and flooding. The Interlaken Region of South Santa Cruz County was one such area, with homes and agricultural fields overtaken by flooding and debris.
A community clean-up was organized by Ramon Gomez, Chief of Staff of County Supervisor Felipe Hernandez (4th District) and sponsored by The Trash Talkers, County of Santa Cruz, and Watsonville Wetland’s Watch. Engaging nearly one hundred volunteers, most of whom were youth members from the Watsonville Church of the Latter Day Saints, participants worked tirelessly to assist in restoring the neighborhood.
With broad smiles and positive attitudes volunteers put on their gloves and got to work. Working in teams, volunteers removed sand bags, and plastic from homes and driveways for pick up by members of County of Santa Cruz Public Works who contributed their time on a Saturday. Going door to door FEMA flyers were handed out and homeowners were given assistance from helping remove flood damaged appliances and carpet, to replacing furniture.
A special thank you to Matt Hackwell, Stake President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints of the Santa Cruz county area, Karen Faurot, Rosa Meyer, and Cynthia Simunovich for their inspirational leadership and support of the volunteers.