.Opinion: Now is the Time to Come Through for Local Nonprofits


This was a year of pandemic, wildfires, economic shutdown and other incredible challenges for our community, and we called on our nonprofit groups more than any time since the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake to help us through it. This was, of course, at the same time that many if not most of those nonprofits were being pushed to the limit financially, cutting paid staff and scrambling to cope with an era in which our legion of local volunteers often were barred from offering their assistance due to Covid-19 concerns.

Somehow, these groups still came through, sometimes in ways they weren’t even designed for, especially when it came to fire relief. Now is our chance to come through for them, with the kickoff of our sixth annual Santa Cruz Gives holiday giving campaign. People have asked me as it got closer to fall if we’d even be doing Santa Cruz Gives this year under the circumstances, but I think the circumstances reveal that it is more necessary than ever. So Gives is back with our biggest group of nonprofits yet—40 groups doing incredible work of all types in Santa Cruz County. You can read about all of them in our cover story this week, then I hope you’ll go to santacruzgives.org and give to one or more of them. We can’t make a difference unless you do—and I believe you will, considering that last year, readers increased the total amount raised in Gives by a whopping 74.8% over 2018. The total number of donors increased by 48% last year as well.

And, defying all odds, our campaign this year is starting with more matching funds than last year, which means your donations will go even further. We’re grateful to all of our 2020 sponsors, including Community Foundation Santa Cruz County, the Applewood Fund, the Joe Collins Fund, Santa Cruz County Bank, Thomas Wynn Capital Management, Oswald Restaurant, the Pajaronian and the Press Banner. Good Times and the Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County are once again the presenting sponsors this year. What started out as a fledgling effort six years ago has grown into a massive community effort, and I encourage you to use this issue to explore all our participants, whom we’re excited to support this holiday season. 




Read the latest letters to the editor here.

Vivid Reminder

Re: “Stored Memories” (GT, 11/11): I was interested in the really well written article by Hugh McCormick on the Yamashita Grocery, the family behind it and the history of the Japanese in Watsonville. I feel like I have known quite a bit about the internment of the Japanese and Japanese-Americans during WWII, but the article vividly reminded me of how it affected those interned—both in being put into camps and their losses when they returned home.

For those of us who have not suffered losses due to war and other forms of violence, we need to be reminded what it means to those who have suffered losses and also had to deal with their lives afterwards. 

Nick Royal | Santa Cruz


Online Comments


Re: Yamashita Grocery

This is such a great article. I’m a history teacher at Watsonville High and this is going into the saved folder for later use for sure. You can clearly see this history looking at old WHS yearbooks, which follow this timeline and make for an interesting primary source. One year all the sudden all of the Japanese names were just gone and enrollment shrunk. I wish I could sit and have coffee with someone who taught here in that era so I could listen to what that was like. One question I have for the author, or maybe someone else here, is how/why or when did the area go from apples as a main export crop to berries?

—   Ryan Jones


 Excellent article by your talented [writer], well-detailing local Japanese-American history, including the worst mistake FDR ever made during his 3+ terms as President. The writer’s only error was if you’re going to disrespect Spanish language and culture in order to obey the dictates of political correctness, it’s spelled “Lantinx”, not “Latnix”. (What’s the next acceptable newspeak to be enforced, an insistence on using “they” instead “he” or “she” to prevent any sexual identification?)

— Chris Kenney

[This typo has been corrected in the online version. We regret the error. — Editor]


Re: Riverfront Development

The part that steams me is the fact that “affordable” units are a calculation of a percentage of market value. In other words NOT affordable in working people dollars. Having even 15 units at below market rent means they still are running 2500 to 4000 a month with 5 to 9k move-in expenses while the developer makes millions and never made a dent in the affordable market at all. This sort of back and forth quibbling is an insult to us all. The county kisses developer ass and no one stands for real affordable anything here. Period.

What a pathetic farce housing is here. Ineffectual and disingenuous.

 — Kristen M Rivers


This photo was shot at the “Protect the Vote” march in Santa Cruz on Nov. 4. Organized by Santa Cruz Indivisible, it started on Pacific Avenue and continued to the steps of the county courthouse on Ocean Street for speeches by local activists calling for every vote to be counted in the presidential election. Photograph by Fernando Gomes.

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Submit to [email protected]. Include information (location, etc.) and your name. Photos may be cropped. Preferably, photos should be 4 inches by 4 inches and minimum 250dpi.



The Scotts Valley junior class is hosting a jacket/blanket drive, for the months of November and December, to gather jackets and blankets to be donated to the homeless in Santa Cruz County. Scotts Valley Junior Class President Jeremy Goodrich says it’s very important to make sure everyone has winter gear, because of how cold the weather has been. Donations can be dropped off at the Four Points Sheraton in Scotts Valley.




Two weeks ago, longtime Santa Cruz Mountains resident Erik Olsen started selling T-shirts and donating all the proceeds to victims of the CZU Lightning Complex fire. As of last week, he had donated $1,476.53 to Community Foundation Santa Cruz County’s fund for local fire victims to help them rebuild and move forward. Olsen, who narrowly escaped a dangerous brush with fire this past summer, is selling his “Great Santa Cruz Mountains” gear at thegreatsantacruzmountains.company.site.


“Disaster gave me two things: a moment to react, and a decision to overcome.”

-Michael Dooley


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