October 2, 2019 | Stories

Disaster Relief Fund to Benefit the Community at Large

Disaster Relief Fund to Benefit the Community at Large

The 30th anniversary of the Loma Prieta Earthquake, the greatest natural disaster in the history of our County, is approaching. The earthquake caused major economic and social disruption estimated at over $113 million in today's dollars. To minimize the social disruption experienced 30 years ago, the Community Foundation for San Benito County has established an Emergency Relief Fund to provide immediate needs when the next disaster comes.

Thirty years ago, the quake displaced hundreds of people from their homes—over 400 were damaged, and many residents took to the outdoors and slept in their yards afraid to sleep inside. Dunne Park hosted a soup kitchen, and the American Red Cross transformed San Andreas High School into a disaster relief shelter.

More than 100 water mains broke in Hollister, and the loss of electrical power knocked out pumping stations. All water storage was depleted within three hours after the quake, and mutual aid water tenders were requested. There was no water for two days following the quake.

With an initial goal of $100,000 for immediate needs such as shelter, drinking water, food, and animal rescue, the Emergency Relief Fund is the first mechanism of this type established for the community of San Benito County. The flood at Lovers Lane and the mass shooting in Gilroy are two examples of recent disasters that could benefit from such a fund, and another earthquake is inevitable.

On October 17th, the Community Foundation is hosting a luncheon with local businesses to provide an introduction to the Disaster Relief Fund and how it will benefit their employees, clients, and the community at large when the next emergency happens. Using Napa County as an example of how businesses have pledged funds to their disaster relief fund, the Community Foundation is hoping to do the same. If your business would like to be part of the conversation, please contact Kat Nobile. The Foundation has also signed a Memo of Understanding with the San Benito County Office of Emergency Preparedness,working jointly on a plan to activate a variety of nonprofits who will be called to help in case of an emergency.

Donating to the Emergency Relief Fund is important, and 100% of every donation will be spent right here in San Benito County. Beyond immediate needs, intermediate and long‐term needs will be required for up two years after the disaster, and the Foundation will be working to achieve a goal of $10M.

Donations to the Emergency Relief Fund may be made here.

Photo: Courtesy of Seismic Publication