Thanksgiving has a different meaning each year, and is always an individual celebration in addition to being a time to gather with others. From births to recoveries, and from personal milestones achieved to positive events on a national or global scale, Thanksgiving is traditionally the time to total up the year’s pros column and ignore the cons as much as possible.

This year’s Thanksgiving will be particularly poignant for Santa Barbara, as residents whose houses and possessions – and lives – escaped the Tea Fire give thanks for good luck, good landscaping, and the heroic efforts of California’s firefighters. But those Santa Barbara and Montecito residents who were less lucky, who lost homes, pets, or treasured heirlooms to the fire, need the community’s help as they enter the holiday season with little to be thankful for besides their lives.

This week’s Your Worship, therefore, is dedicated to all of those Santa Barbarans who are unable to celebrate Thanksgiving at home this year, to those members of our community who were injured in the fire, and to their families. While giving thanks for blessings received throughout the year is important, giving assistance and good wishes to those who need it is an equally valid, and immediately productive, way to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday.

Anyone with friends and family directly affected by the fire is doubtless already pitching in – but general donations of clothing, personal items, and money are underway, and there are a lot of ways to help. Below, please see a partial listing of the places and venues to donate – and Happy Thanksgiving from Your Worship!

Santa Barbara Yoga Center, at 32 E. Micheltorena St.: Currently accepting and distributing donations for Tea Fire victims, including clothing and household items. Fire survivors are invited to visit the Yoga Center Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. to take donated items. Health practitioners associated with the center are also offering free or discounted services. Call 965-6045 or visit

Chabad of Santa Barbara, at 6047 Stow Canyon Rd.: Financial donations to a fire relief fund and offers of temporary housing for fire survivors can be made on Chabad’s Web site. Those who have lost their houses may also fill out a form, and will hopefully be connected with someone with housing to offer. Call 683-1544 or visit

American Red Cross of Santa Barbara County, at 2707 State St.: The Red Cross was instrumental in providing immediate shelter for evacuees during the Tea Fire; it has continued to house those who no longer have a home to return to. To support its efforts, make a donation on the Web site, by phone, or by mail. Call 687-1331 or visit

Mountain Drive Community Association: This community group is providing every type of assistance imaginable, from cleanup to legal advice, and they’re in need of volunteers. Visit

The Lance and Carla Burn Fund: Established for the benefit of Lance and Carla Hoffman, both of whom suffered severe burns when they were caught by the fire as it swept through their home on East Mountain Drive, this fund will provide assistance with medical bills and with rebuilding their lives when they’re able to leave the hospital. Send donations to Santa Barbara Bank & Trust, at 1483 E. Valley Rd. in Montecito. Checks should be made out to The Lance and Carla Burn Fund. Call 969-7711 or visit

For more ways to donate or assist, check The Independent‘s Web site regularly; another list of donation venues can be found here.

As Thanksgiving comes nearer, don’t forget the annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service, which is sponsored by the Greater Santa Barbara Area Clergy Association. This year’s speaker is Father Jon-Stevens Hedges of St. Athanasius Orthodox Church, and his topic is “Thanksgiving as Therapy in the Middle of Chaos.” The service will be held on Tuesday, November 25, at 7 p.m., at the First United Methodist Church at 305 E. Anapamu St. Call 963-3579 or visit


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