“Please join us to help 166 families this year,” said Genevieve Geyser, coordinator of the Christmas basket program, and volunteer with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. “We are $3,000 dollars behind in our fundraising at this time.”

Christmas basket recipients must be residents of the Santa Ynez Valley. The program is open to families with minor children who are struggling financially. Each family receives food, staples, toiletries, a large decorated box filled with wrapped presents for each member, a gift card for a supermarket, and 2 chickens donated by El Rancho Market.

Individuals, groups or organizations select a family and shop for presents to match the family’s description. On Dec 17th or 18th they bring their wrapped presents to the Mission Parish Hall. Society volunteers prepare the baskets. On Dec. 21,, 2012, the needy receive their baskets.

Geyser said, “There are many ways for people to help. We need financial donations to assist in the purchase of food. All donations are tax deductible and all funds go directly to the families. There are no administrative fees. Checks may be made out to Old Mission Santa Ines, referencing Christmas Basket Program. We need individuals, groups, or organizations to adopt families. People can donate additional food items (cereal, peanut butter, jelly, juice, etc.) or individual gifts. Our greatest need this year is for donations to buy food for the baskets. It is an especially challenging year economically and food costs have dramatically increased.”

St. Mark’s in the Valley Episcopal Church has adopted 51 families and the Santa Ynez Valley Presbyterian Church has adopted 50 families. The remainder of the families should be adopted by Old Mission Santa Ines, the Rotary, 4-H, Charter School and local businesses.

Geyser said, “We hope to come together as a community to take care of our own.”

About the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Council of Los Angeles

The Society serves the needy in Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties as a part of an international, volunteer-driven Catholic organization that serves the disadvantaged of any religious denomination free of charge. For more information: svdpla.org.


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