Grassroots Group Steps Up During Disaster Aftermath – S.B. Support Network Offers Immediate Assistance
In the aftermath of the early-morning flooding and mudslides of January 9, six moms (with 15 kids between them) banded together to help Montecito families impacted by the natural disaster. While long-term help — such as unemployment benefits and FEMA-backed assistance — takes time to materialize, immediate needs often get overlooked. These moms set out to change that.
Launching on January 9, they dubbed themselves the S.B. Support Network and focused on helping evacuated families struggling day-to-day with post-flood realities big and small, from housing and transportation to clean clothes and hot meals. Any impacted individual or family can sign up anonymously with the support network, where their lists of needs are viewed and filled by participating donors, many of whom also prefer to remain unnamed. One family of four, for example, received grocery-store gift cards to help offset food costs while living in a hotel. For another family, which lost nearly everything, including loved ones, the support network covered three months’ rent. They have also helped a landscaping business get back to work by replacing tools swept away by the flood. Another anonymous donation enabled a family to buy a new vehicle at wholesale price.
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Countless people are asking “What can I do to help?” One group of Washington Elementary School moms can help guide you.
The group of six Santa Barbara women organized through group texts and social media and has created a SignUpGenius account connecting those in need with those willing to help.
Two of the women are married to first responders.
“We receive lists from specific families about their needs: cars, shoes, backpacks, gift cards,” said Jennifer Harris.
“We act as liaisons between families needing and those helping. Moms mobilizing to get stuff done!”
All families being helped are from Montecito and have either lost loved ones, their homes or their houses sustained significant damage. Their identifies are kept confidential.