WEATHER »

Solar Chargers Provided to Homeless Women


It’s one thing to simply mail a check to a favorite charity; it’s another to interact directly with the folks you’d like to help. When Mike Tognotti, an executive recruiter who volunteers regularly to help feed Santa Barbara’s homeless, discovered that many homeless women get anxious when their phone batteries die, he looked for a way to help. At downtown’s Impact Hub — a communal workspace for creatives and professionals — he crossed paths with Megan Birney, president of Unite to Light. They teamed up to hand out solar-powered chargers, with reading lights, to 20 women living in their vehicles, contacted through New Beginnings Counseling Center’s Safe Parking Program.

“For someone without access to electricity, a simple light and charger can have a major impact,” Birney said. “Not only do the lights provide convenience and increased quality of life for these individuals and families, but they also bring the safety and security of knowing that their phone will have battery power in an emergency.”

Added Tognotti: “I’m on a personal journey to try to help people in our community. Hundreds of people are living in vehicles nightly here in Santa Barbara. Many of them are children. My hope is that the lights enable these children to read a few extra hours per night. I hope the lights provide hope.”

Tognotti is working on expanding the program into a library of 100 lights.


To submit a comment on this article, email letters@independent.com or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email tips@independent.com.



Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

UC Santa Barbara Student Injured in Fall from Roof

Injured while taking photo of friends in Isla Vista.

Catalytic Converter Thefts Rise in Santa Barbara County

Thievery matches increased price of precious metal rhodium.

City Votes to Amend Charter Concerning Council Vacancies

The proposed amendment concerning elections must be approved by Santa Barbara voters.

Garden and Haley Closed for Emergency Sewer Repair

Northbound Garden Street closed between Haley and Cota streets.

Former Supervisor Tom Urbanske Dies

He had stayed active in community nonprofits benefitting those in need.