The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians presented the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County with a $150,000 donation this week to help the nonprofit expand its services in Goleta.
The check presentation occurred Tuesday during a volunteer event at the group’s Santa Maria facility, where members of the Chumash Fire Department and Team Chumash volunteers bagged 650 meals for local residents in need.
Foodbank of Santa Barbara County will be putting the funds toward its Sharehouse campaign, which will address needed modifications, additional warehouse space, refrigeration needs and updates for its recently purchased Goleta facility.
According to the food bank, the work will ensure the nonprofit can meet the countywide need for healthy food, support those facing daily hunger and keep the county prepared in case of disaster. The new facility will also feature a Nutrition Promotion Center, a place where the community can learn about nutrition and food literacy.
“The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County is a vital resource for the community, and we are proud to contribute to its expansion efforts,” said Kenneth Kahn, tribal chairman for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians. “We applaud this group for its daily dedication to ending hunger in our region.”
Once retrofitted, the new 57,000-square-foot Sharehouse facility in Goleta, located at 80 Coromar Drive, is projected to open in summer 2023. With the newly acquired extra space, the facility’s cooler capacity will drastically increase from 28,000 pounds to 352,000 pounds and will allow the nonprofit to accept up to 80,000 pounds of additional food and fresh produce every week.
The nonprofit’s current Goleta warehouse can only hold 15% of the food needed in South County, forcing the Foodbank to turn away 32,000 pounds of rescued produce each week. Additionally, because of the lack of space, most of the food donated in South County has to be transported to the North County warehouse, causing an additional 37,000 miles of transport annually.
“We are so pleased to receive funds from the Chumash Foundation that will allow us to purchase and retrofit our new Sharehouse facility,” said Dan Thomas, capital campaign director for the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.
“The Sharehouse will help us more efficiently provide food to hungry people in Santa Barbara County, and it will protect the whole community from facing the uncertainty of hunger in the event of a widespread disaster.”
The mission of the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County is to end hunger and transform the health of Santa Barbara County through good nutrition. According to the Public Policy Institute of California, Santa Barbara County ranks third out of California’s 58 counties in its poverty rate, with 23% of residents lacking the resources to meet basic needs, including food.
The Foodbank provides nourishment and education through a network of more than 300 partner agencies, nutrition education programs and food distribution sites operated by the Foodbank and its volunteers. For more information, visit foodbanksbc.org.
The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians has donated more than $25 million to hundreds of groups, organizations and schools in the community and across the nation as part of the tribe’s long-standing tradition of giving. For more information, visit www.santaynezchumash.org.