On Christmas Day at the Veterans’ Memorial Building, Adam’s Angels once again hosted a fabulous Christmas meal open to anyone in the community. A large team of volunteers warmly welcomed about 500 guests, many of them homeless, and provided them with a delicious meal, presents, supplies, and entertainment, including a heartwarming performance of Christmas songs by Kenny Loggins and Jackson Gillies.
While most Santa Barbara residents spent the holiday season at parties, shopping, and visiting with family, Adams Angels Co-Founders Adam McKaig and Melissa Borders and their Angels spent the past couple of weeks preparing for this event. Asked what motivates him, McKaig related how many of the guests have no family in Santa Barbara to care for them. Similarly, he and many volunteers don’t have family here and at the event, he shared, everyone “becomes one big family united around the table.”
The gratitude from guests, according to McKaig, is huge. Everyone is welcome. The event caters to those without houses, McKaig shared, but also to those who are just hungry and, more importantly, to those who are lonely.
The event isn’t just for the guests — the event gives volunteers purpose. According to McKaig, volunteers regularly say how being a part of Adam’s Angels has changed their lives for the better. He even has received calls from family members of volunteers thanking him for giving their loved one purpose and hope.
Upon arrival, guests were greeted by Drew Wakefield and other volunteers, and while waiting in the buffet line, enjoyed Christmas tunes spun by DJ Souza. Wendy Lynn from C.A.R.E.4Paws cared for dogs while their owners dined. The American Legion and Adam’s Angels prepared a feast of baked ham, mashed potatoes and other sides. Keith Hudson of Hudson Ministries (and Katie Perry’s dad), did the prayer before the meal. An amazing partner in putting on the event, according to McKaig, was Veterans Memorial Building Manager Carmen Munoz, who volunteered along with her family.
The highlight of all the entertainment was an enchanting performance of Christmas songs by Kenny Loggins and Jackson Gillies. Guests and volunteers also enjoyed an extended performance by The Traveling Hurtados and others.
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In conjunction with the Veterans’ Memorial Building staff, Adam’s Angels assembled a mix of donated and purchased gifts, all wrapped by SB Middle School students for the guests. Racks of jackets, from a drive organized by Montecito Customs owner Jeff Clark, also were offered to guests.
To spread the word about the event, Adam’s Angels inserted invitations in the 300 bags of nonperishable food it distributes to the homeless each week at seven locations between Isla Vista and Carpinteria and passed them along to its partner organizations serving the homeless.
Just about a month earlier, Adam’s Angels put on a Thanksgiving Dinner — turkey with all the trimmings — for about 400 guests. Alan Parsons led the entertainment line-up, which also included Gillies and Jason Libs. In the beginning, McKaig shared, he had to ask musicians to perform, now musicians are offering to volunteer their amazing talents.
Adam’s Angels, now its own 501(c)(3) organization, had its roots at the start of the pandemic when McKaig, a realtor, posted an offer on Facebook to shop for elderly people in need. It has now grown into a 400-strong all-volunteer organization serving the homeless and others in need.
Along with its weekly food distribution, Adam’s Angels also distributes clothing, gear, and hygiene items. It delivers groceries and medications each week for some elderly residents. It now has a small fund to pay for eye exams and glasses. On the very rainy day of the interview, McKaig and Borders were still out serving, this time distributing ponchos to the homeless.
Nobody, including McKaig, draws any compensation. The funds go the other way with a portion of McKaig’s and Borders’s real estate commissions helping to fund operations. McKaig and Borders are already planning for next year’s holiday meals and will continue their invaluable year round services. McKaig shared his gratitude for the donations Adam’s Angels receives, enabling the group to continue to serve. If the level of donations rises, McKaig wants to broaden the services it offers to further meet community needs. “The sky is the limit, and we are excited to see where the new year takes us!”
For more info or to make a donation, go to adamsangels-sb.org.
For coverage of other events, go to independent.com/society.