Emergency drought money has the community of Mendota hopeful

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Drive into the farming community of Mendota and you?ll see fields left unplanted because of the extreme water shortage. (KFSN)

Drive into the farming community of Mendota and you'll see fields left unplanted because of the extreme water shortage. Many in this city like Hector Rodriguez who used to work for a tomato packing house have been out of work for months.

"Sometimes my kid wants stuff and it's hard. I have to manage my money," said Rodriguez.

The 27-year-old father who was born and raised in the city says workers with seniority tend to get hired regularly in the Ag business.

"Sad I was even planning on moving out of here but I have been living here all my life," added Rodriguez.

City Manager Vince DiMaggio told us the unemployment rate is skyrocketing. He said, "We believe we are up in the 30 percentile range."

DiMaggio wants some of the money the Governor allocated for food banks in drought stricken counties because the weekly food pantry regularly draws 200 people. City leaders are also worried about the psychological strain being out of work has put on local families.

"Anytime you are unemployed there is a little bit of desperation. So we are seeing a lot of alcohol abuse. We are seeing a lot of DUIs, more than we would normally see that's a social impact crime," said DiMaggio.

There's also been a decline in the number of kids signing up for after school sports. Sergio Valdez who runs the non-profit sees parents who can't afford to pay for the league. Valdez says most of the sponsors of local teams are farmers. Three years ago 18 farmers signed up to help a sports team. This year only five could afford to do so.



Related Topics:
california waterwaterdroughtfresno countyMendotaFresno County
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