PORTERVILLE, CA –– In a special effort to assist local families affected by California’s water crisis, Bank of the Sierra is pleased to announce the largest Sierra Grant donation in the bank’s history to Self-Help Enterprises in the amount of $50,000. The funds have been specifically allocated to help low- and moderate-income families in the Central Valley of California regain access to water in their homes.
“California is facing the worst drought in over a century, and many of our communities and customers have been severely affected,” stated Jim Holly, Bank of the Sierra CEO. “Self-Help Enterprises has been instrumental in connecting local families with the resources necessary to implement temporary and permanent water solutions since this drought started. We are pleased to offer this grant, knowing the funds will help counter the effects of the catastrophic water situation with which we are faced,” continued Holly.
Today, Tulare and Kings Counties are among the 58 percent of California that is in an Exceptional Drought, the US Drought Monitor’s most extreme drought category. Thousands of residents across the Central Valley have survived months without water to drink, cook, clean, shower or run a swamp cooler during the sweltering summer. With no precipitation in sight, drought conditions are expected to escalate and the water shortage will continue to affect people who depend on rainfall and snowmelt to replenish their well water supply.
Self-Help Enterprises, a nationally recognized nonprofit community development organization, is working with communities and families to provide immediate, interim assistance to residents affected by the drought, while working toward long-term solutions. These activities include:
• providing low-interest loans to drill new or deepen existing private wells;
• securing emergency funding for delivery of bottled drinking water;
• securing funding to drill deeper wells for rural community water systems; and
• securing funding to connect drought stricken areas to nearby community water systems.
In addition, Self-Help Enterprises is participating in various drought task forces, assisting with the distribution of water conservation kits provided by the State and is piloting an interim solution that allows water to be pumped into a home from a water tank which is filled with water by local water haulers.
The Sierra Grant donation will support and expand these efforts by Self-Help Enterprises as they work to implement effective solutions to different communities in order to best meet their own unique water supply needs.
“The current water shortage is one of the biggest, if not the biggest challenge, the Valley has faced. Not only is the intense drought affecting areas that were already struggling to get access to clean drinking water, but it also poses health risks to vulnerable populations, including the elderly, those with health problems and low-income families,” said Tom Collishaw, Self-Help Enterprises CEO. “We greatly appreciate Bank of the Sierra’s donation to support our efforts. The Sierra Grant will have a direct impact on our efforts to provide much needed assistance to families who have been adversely affected by the drought.”
Bank of the Sierra invites Valley businesses and individuals to join us in support of local families in need by donating to Self-Help Enterprises’ drought relief efforts. As a community, we can come together to help Valley residents in our own backyard who are facing extreme water challenges and are in desperate need of emergency relief during this persistent drought.
For more information about Self-Help Enterprises’ drought relief assistance or to make a donation, please contact (559) 802-1689.
About Bank of the Sierra
With over $1.5 billion in assets and strong performance ratios, Bank of the Sierra is the largest independently owned community bank headquartered in the Southern San Joaquin Valley’s Heartland. The bank serves 17 different communities with 25 branches, two Ag Centers and one SBA Center. For more information visit the website at www.bankofthesierra.com or call (888) 454-BANK.
About Self-Help Enterprises
Self-Help Enterprises (SHE) is a nationally recognized community development organization whose mission is to work together with low-income families to build and sustain healthy homes and communities. The pioneer and leading provider of mutual self-help housing in the United States, SHE’s efforts today encompass a range of efforts to build better homes and communities for farmworkers and other hard working families. In the past 50 years, SHE has helped more than 6,000 families to build their own homes, rehabilitated over 6,000 unsafe homes, developed over 1,300 units of affordable rental housing and has provided technical assistance for reliable access to safe drinking water and sanitary sewer infrastructures to more than 160 small communities serving over 28,000 families. SHE’s commitment to providing resources and training for individuals builds capacity of highly effective leaders in communities that also promote collaborative solutions for improving communities. These combined efforts have touched the lives of over 50,000 families, providing security and stability for families and building more productive communities.