Unity Shoppe Founder Barbara Tellefson Dies

Tellefson 84 at Time of Passing, Leaves Behind Massive Legacy

Barbara Tellefson | Courtesy Photo

The founder and president of Santa Barbara’s Unity Shoppe, Barbara Tellefson, died on Sunday. She was 84 years old.

Tellefson is leaving behind a huge legacy with her Unity Shoppe, dedicated to providing the basic necessities of life and occupational skills training to Santa Barbara’s most vulnerable populations during times of temporary crisis. 

“There will never be another Barbara Tellefson in our town. She was a force of nature, but not one that ever sought the spotlight; instead, she poured all of her energies into working behind the scenes, enabling Unity Shoppe to grow and develop a physical footprint where our community’s low-income families, seniors, the disabled, and disaster victims could receive a broad range of services when experiencing a crisis event,” said Santa Barbara’s 2019 Woman of the Year, Jelinda DeVorzon.

Unity Shoppe is currently in need of $5.5 million to complete the establishment of its physical footprint. Before her passing, Tellefson pledged the first $500,000 toward this goal. Community residents interested in honoring Tellefson’s pledge to help sustain Unity Shoppe’s physical footprint and range of support programs into the future can make a donation at www.unityshoppe.org or contact Director of Donor Relations Pat Hitchcock at (805) 979-9511.

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