Just weeks after multiple atmospheric rivers brought winter storms and massive rainfall to California, many Golden State residents are still feeling the impacts. One Bakersfield woman is collecting donations in Kern County to help out fellow Californians on the coast.
Blankets, canned food, and hygiene products fill the bags and boxes in Marie Alexander's garage in Bakersfield, all set to soon head out to the Central Coast to aid those affected by the severe winter storms.
Flooded roads, overflowing creeks, and substantial damage to homes and businesses occurred across the Central Coast this January from the series of atmospheric rivers.
“We have like a mile-long driveway and it was under a foot of water and our huge flat, there’s about a 60 acre flat in front of our house and it was under two feet of water, flowing water,” explained Miranda Nesby, a Central Coast resident.
Nesby, who lives in Huasna Valley, describes her experience as feeling stuck, both mentally and physically.
“We have a bridge that’s further down the road from us. It’s a big county bridge and the whole thing completely collapsed," Nesby said. "All these people are stuck not being able to use the road correctly or safely because of the storm."
Over 150 miles away, Alexander wants to make a difference.
“When I saw how this was affecting the people that I know and love and care about, I just felt drawn to do something to help," she explained.
Alexander grew up on the Central Coast and despite moving to Bakersfield six years ago, she still calls it home in her heart. That led her to rally Kern County into giving back to the place that many residents visit.
“Most people forget that the Central Coast is where people in Bakersfield frequent every other weekend, sometimes every weekend,” she said.
Donations are being collected at three different sites in Bakersfield, with items including non-perishable food, medicines, toiletries, towels, and more being accepted. Nesby says the items will truly help.
“A lot of people in Morro Bay, Oceano, Guadalupe, their homes got red tagged so they can’t even go inside the home without having respirators on," Nesby explained. "They can’t live in their homes and there’s a lot of people that are living in hotel rooms, so they have none of their personal items.”
Alexander says that one of the main goals of the relief effort is to show the Central Coast that Bakersfield cares.
The date set for donations to go to the Central Coast is March 18. They will go to the Oceano Train Depot.
Donations are being accepted at Capital Dental Group on Camino Media, 88.3 Life FM on Rosedale Highway, and Rewind 98.1 on Chester Avenue.