Despite our county’s wealth, Santa Barbara has one of the highest rates of food insecurity-a condition in which people lack the basic food intake to provide them with the energy and nutrients for fully productive lives-in the state. Luckily, we have numerous agencies trying to alleviate that problem, and everyone can help.
Community Kitchen of Santa Barbara relies on more than 300 volunteers who serve food to the homeless or pick up and deliver food to children’s programs. Volunteers, who work a typical commitment of two hours, are needed at lunch, afternoons, and evenings, seven days a week. Interested parties get a brief introduction and on-the-job training.
The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, the county’s largest hunger relief organization, has a variety of programs based in its Hollister Avenue center. Daily, there’s food and fruit sorting for shipment to member agencies. Starting in September, 150 children will be the recipients of its Backpack Program, which requires five volunteers to stuff the packs. Twice a month at each of six distribution sites, there’s a morning Brown Bag program for senior citizens, which involves drop-off for the homebound. Those interested should contact the Foodbank. -George Yatchisin
Contacts for volunteering opportunities: Community Kitchen of Santa Barbara (964-8049), Foodbank of Santa Barbara (967-5741 x101), Meals on Wheels (683-1565).