College Coordinates Montecito Food Drive

Montecito community members joined with Westmont to serve the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, which has distributed 2.25 million pounds of food during the COVID-19 response. Residents dropped off 151 bags of food at the rear parking lot of Montecito Bank and Trust on Coast Village Road on May 9 or asked that donated food be picked up from their homes. In exchange, donors received wrapped rolls of toilet paper. People also made monetary gifts online at foodbanksbc.org.

“My heart was not prepared for the many families that came through hoping to receive food,” says Scott Lisea, Westmont campus pastor and one of the event organizers. “Their struggle is real. Thank you everyone who participated.”

Foodbank volunteers are packing 6,000 grocery bags per week in the county during the coronavirus crisis.

“The TP is just a gimmicky hook, but it’s a topical item these days and will, of course, be forever linked in history with the pandemic,” says Montecito resident and organizer David Taylor. “One can find TP a little easier than a month ago when our plan started forming, but 10 to 20 rolls is a good addition to any household supply and also handy to share with needier neighbors.”

Westmont students helped run the touch-free, drop-off line.

Taylor and fellow Montecito dog-walker Edee Schulze, Westmont vice president for student life, came up with the idea for the event after seeing the desperate need of food banks across the country. The initiative also received 2,000 rolls of donated toilet paper from the local hotel industry. “Rather than just giving the TP to the Foodbank, we hope to leverage it into a much larger and more needed quantity of food,” Taylor says.

The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County has served 85,000 individuals during the coronavirus pandemic, far more than during the 2019 government shutdown (51,000) and the Thomas Fire/debris flow (37,000).

“It’s deep within our tradition to care for people who need help,” Lisea says. “This volunteer opportunity will help families who need food in this crisis. The Foodbank does beautiful work feeding those in need.”