Credit: Thomas Park/ Unsplash

It’s estimated that between 10 and 15 million people experience food insecurity in America, with about 6 million of those being children. Between 2016 and 2019, the Cottage Hospital Center for Population Health estimated that 21 percent of the adult population of Santa Barbara is food insecure.

Nationally and locally, several sites and organizations have worked to offer food, meals, and produce to this population of Santa Barbara. Groups like the People’s Pantry or Isla Vista Community Fridge have physical containers out in public where food can be taken by anyone who needs it. 

For anyone under 18, the organization No Kid Hungry has also created a text prompt that will provide the closest site giving out free meals. Text “FOOD” to 304-304, and provide an address when the automatic response asks for one. The program will then send the address of the closest sites providing meals for people under 18. 

The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County also has lists in English and Spanish for food sites in Santa Barbara, Goleta, Isla Vista, Santa Maria, Carpinteria, Lompoc, Solvang, Buellton, and Guadalupe.

Listed below are several Santa Barbara community sites offering free food, or meals:

Franklin Community Center
1136 E. Montecito St.
Thursday, 1 p.m.

Unity Shoppe
1401 Chapala St.
Monday-Friday, 10-11:30 a.m. and 1-5 p.m. 

Westside Community Center
423 W. Victoria St.
Monday, 1-3 p.m.

Franklin Elementary School
1111 E. Mason St.
Third Saturday of month, 8:30-10:30 a.m.

Catholic Charities
609 E. Haley St. 
Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Children’s Park
520 Wentworth Ave. 
First two Tuesdays of month, 1 p.m.

New Life Church
50 E. Alamar Ave.
Third Tuesday of month, 1-2:30 p.m.

Salvation Army
4849 Hollister Ave. 
Tuesday-Wednesday, 9 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m. 

People’s Pantry
First Location: First Christian Church/The Way Collective
1915 Chapala St.
Second Location: Santa Barbara Public Library
40 E. Anapamu St.

Isla Vista Community Fridge
Corner of Embarcadero del Norte and Cervantes Rd., Isla Vista

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