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Devasting floodwatersFloodwaters strike encampments in SD Riverbed



Effort Launched to help flood victims living in Riverbed and for future storms

Donations and volunteers requested

In our fall 2023 San Diego Riverbed Census of people experiencing homelessness, 375 people were counted. The January 2024 rain-impacted We All Count identified 283 people living in the smaller area that was surveyed.


In January and February 7+ foot high floodwaters washed out many areas where people were living.

Sadly, two people were washed away and died. Several have been rescured. Preliminary reporting indicates that they were experiencing homelessness.


The floodwaters inudated encampments. Things that many take for granted like toothbrushes and toothpaste, dry socks and warm bedding were gone. Medication, identification, and other essential items were lost. For others, items were muddy and soggy, and they tried to make the most of it.


The San Diego River Park Foundation is seeking donations to support a response to this tragedy and to get ready for future storms. Community members will be trained and guided to visit people living across nearly 20 miles of the San Diego River to hand out care packages with essential items, to connect people in encampments with available resources, and to warn people when flooding is predicted. We will also post signs at known entry points to further warn about potential flooding.

Volunteers are needed to create the care packages and to hand them out.

300 packages for each flood event.


We have already collected 1000s of socks. For the care packages, we need

  • toothpaste
  • toothbrush
  • hand wipes (individually wrapped or small packeges) biodegradble preferred
  • individually wrapped rain panchos
  • individually wrapped food bars (soft chew preferred due to dental issues) We will place 4 in each bag
  • 1 gal. reseable bags (to put the items in)


In addition, we will accept a limited number of other items. If you would like to assist, please reach out. Items such as warm caps and gifts cards (suggest $20) to local fast food places for a warm meal are especially appreciated.


Importantly, we will work to visit sites after every flood to check on people and replace items. This is also a good way to build trust. We partner with PATH San Diego and others to connect people when they are ready to available services. Our many programs know the Riverbed very well. We know most of the people living in the Riverbed by name. We have adapted our weekly mapping efforts to collect information about the location of each encampment. Because of this, we are best equiped to make this effort. But we need you!

How to Help

1. Volunteer to be part of a response team. We are organizing interested people to assist in this vital effort. Email Us For Details

2. Donations are being collected. We also appreciate and need items (see list above). If your group, business or class would like to help with a care package making party or are collecting items, fantastic! Please call or email us to coordinate.

3. Let your elected representative know that people living in the riverbed need a flood warning system and more flood response resources

Make a donation to help respond to some of
San Diego's most vulnerable impacted by the floods


Donations can be mailed to:

The San Diego River Park Foundation

4891 Pacific Highway, Suite 114

San Diego, CA 92110


As a 501c3 qualified nonprofit, all gifts are tax deductible as provided by law.
EIN 01-0565671


Donations can also be made by:


VENMO to @sandiegoriver (please indicate for flood response)

By phone: 619-297-73080


Donate Online



For more information, please call the San Diego River Park Foundation at 619-297-7380 or email


Thank you!


News Releases (PDF)


Big Community Clean-up Feb. 24th


River Days

Earth Day - Mural Painting Project

Annual Estuary Kayak Cleanup

Lillian Hill Acquisition Success!


For media inquiries, please contact

Alexa Lewis Risenfeld

Manager - Philanthropy and Communications

email or call 619-297-7380

River Stories - Printed Newsletter


2023 - Fall Edition (PDF)



Fashion Valley River Restoration Project

January 2023


Location: San Diego River between 163 and Town and Country Resort

Partners: San Diego River Park Foundaiton, Fashion Valley and Urban Corps of San Diego

Goal: To remove non-native invasive plants so that native plants flourish


  • improved habitat for birds, butterflies and other wildlife
  • remove non-native plants which compete against native plants
  • reduce flooding
  • open area up
  • remove trash and other pollution


How to get involved

  • Join us for a Tour! Tours will be organized. Let us know you are interested and your availability. Small groups will go on a walking tour and learn about the strategies and benefits of restoring this area. You will see the river up close.
  • Volunteer on Tuesdays to join Team Impact as they work with SDRPF staff to implement the restoration plan.
  • Volunteer for a future river cleanup at this location.



Please email Natalie or call us at 619-297-7380 to learn more. Thanks!



Recent Photos





Additional Photos will be posted soon.




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