SolarCity employees volunteer the day at PACC

Volunteers from SolarCity visited PACC in Porterville Thursday to take a tour of drought-stricken East Porterville and to donate their time to clean up and help organize the nonprofit's water station where they serve hundreds of families without water.

72 employees donate day of labor to PACC

There are more ways to help those suffering from the drought than donating water and money. Offering time and services is another option, and 72 employees from SolarCity did just that Thursday.

Employee volunteers from SolarCity came from as far as Stockton and Bakersfield to clean up and organize the Porterville Area Coordinating Council’s (PACC) water station.

The group’s day began with a tour of drought-stricken East Porterville on two city buses. Then the volunteers gathered at the water station at the intersection of Date Avenue and Plano Street to hear about the work PACC volunteers have been doing, and to break into groups to organize bottled water donations, pull weeds and perform other tasks.

Elva Beltran, director of PACC, and her son Freddy Beltran Jr., a volunteer, discussed the drought-relief efforts, which have been underway since August.

Beltran Jr. spoke of a family that paid $20,000 for a new well but then didn’t have any money left for the plumbing. Beltran Jr. and volunteers connected the family’s home to the well.

After the tour, several members of the group expressed their shock at the suffering the drought has caused.

“When I was driving around in this, I was actually thinking this was a Third World [country],” said Brady Anderson of Stockton. “I was wondering why is this not a federal disaster? That’s what really gets me.”

Sonia Chavez, a Solar City account manager who lives in Porterville, is the person responsible for Thursday’s clean-up event. Chavez approached Elva Beltran asking how her company could help.

“We wanted to do something for the community,” Chavez said. “In my own backyard we have a drought problem and I wanted to bring awareness to the community.”

Anderson said the biggest thing that motivated him was the seriousness of the drought.

“SolarCity, we are in people’s home all the time” and see the effect of the drought, he said, noting the impact is not nearly as severe up north.

“Not too many people are drying up their wells, but a lot of the local dams are closing,” he said of the Merced/Stockton area. “We heard about this group (PACC) and thought it was a great opportunity.”

SolarCity energy consultant Jesse McClure cut his honeymoon short to help.

“I’m still technically off on my honeymoon. This is the last day,” McClure said. “But I heard about this top secret mission and got on board.”

SolarCity employees spent the majority of the day pulling weeds, wrapping and stacking pallets of water, organizing the warehouse and helping as needed.

“Anything they need,” Anderson said. “We’re doing everything they need us to do.”

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