I’m hosting a Montecito Mudslide Victims Fundraiser on Saturday, February 24 in Brooklyn, NYC. The Montecito Mudslide Victims Fundraiser, sponsored by Knotel, is in support of the Montecito families who lost their loved ones and homes after the January 9 mudslides that buried the small town in Southern California. All ticket, drink, and mask purchases will be donated directly to those Montecito families who suffered the mudslide devastation. The fundraiser will take place in Gowanus, Brooklyn, from 9 p.m.-12 a.m. The theme is masquerade. There will also be a performance by Keys from 9:30-10:30pm.

My sister, Léa, and I decided to organize the fundraiser because we grew up in Montecito. Our parents, like much of the rest of the Montecito community, were displaced until repopulation orders took effect. The night of the mudslides, our parents fortunately had evacuated from our home on East Valley Road. Exhausted from being evacuated from the Thomas Fire and seeing the rain was only a drizzle in the evening, they left our cat Maxou in the house and only packed a few bags of clothes to take to their hotel on Cabrillo Boulevard. That night, their assumptions like many others from Montecito were proven wrong. We were reassured a couple days later that the house was still standing when Animal Rescue was able to fetch our cat. Our family was lucky. Appreciating this and in a position where we can help, Léa and I opened a GoFundMe page to pool donations from our New York, San Francisco, and Santa Barbara networks to raise funds specifically for the Montecito families who lost their loved ones and homes. The fundraiser this Saturday, February 24 is the last day we’ll be collecting donations for the families. All donations will be divided and distributed to the families’ GoFundMe pages and/or made out to them as checks. I will personally manage the withdrawal and distribution process.

Even though the two of us live far away, we are committed to helping the families who lost their sister, their son, their dad, their grandpa, their husband, their daughter, their best friend, their partner, their baby. We know money does not replace the heartbreak and loss. We also know it might take months, if not years, to rebuild Montecito and move past the devastation. Our goal is to extend a hand and offer hope by starting somewhere, specifically where help and support are needed most immediately: the families who experienced ultimate tragedy.

Léa and I attended Laguna Blanca, practiced tennis at Knowlwood and Birnam Wood, regularly jogged down San Ysidro through Olive Mill to Butterfly Beach, hiked Montecito Peak countless times, and often reunited over family dinners at the Montecito Inn and Lucky’s. This is our effort to stand in solidarity with our hometown community from San Francisco all the way to New York.

The Eventbrite link is here.

To collect donations, the GoFundMe link is here.


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