One805, the local nonprofit dedicated to supporting first responders, is collecting critical supplies for those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. All supplies will be disseminated where they are needed most throughout Santa Barbara County, starting with hospitals.
A monitored drop box has been set up outside One805’s office at 200 State St., where the following unused items can be donated from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday:
- Masks (of any kind)
- Antibacterial/antiviral wipes
- Liquid hand sanitizer
- Protective medical clothing
To ensure the community’s safety, One805 asks that donations are secured in large envelopes or bags, and that social distancing orders are kept in mind while dropping anything off. For that reason, supplies can also be mailed to One 805, Inc., 2000 State St., Santa Barbara, CA 93105 at any time.
In the weeks preceding COVID-19’s spread to Santa Barbara, the organization anticipated the outbreak, collecting PPE, or personal protective equipment, and cloth masks days before the hospitals began their search. Now, as the public health crisis continues to grow, their need is urgent as ever.
“Every day we turn over what we collect to where it’s needed most,” said Angela Binetti, One805 Executive Director. “We’re trying to get (supplies) to medical workers soon as we can.”
Once collected, One805 distributes supplies based on necessity by coordinating with the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Services, as well as the county’s health care systems. Up until now, that has meant directing items to hospitals and urgent care centers, though Ms. Binetti anticipates need among first responders from the Fire, Sheriff, and Police departments will increase soon.
“So far, everything to date has gone to medical health heroes, but I think the hospitals are getting pretty well-stocked,” she said. “Soon, the PPE will switch to first responders.”
Apart from masks and other protective gear, One805 has already started looking into other needs first responders may have, like those of the Santa Barbara Police Department. With the SBPD’s shipment of antibacterial/antiviral wipes on backorder, One805 has stepped up instead, currently fundraising and searching for wipe donations.
Beyond addressing demands of today, a large part of the organization’s work is looking to tomorrow. In the face of COVID-19, being prepared means collecting funds for resources like an RV, so first responders can remain close to their respective precincts and have a place to quarantine away from their families if they are exposed to the virus.
Fortunately, a Ventura company has offered to provide One805 with RV’s at a discounted price, but Ms. Binetti still urges the public to lend their support, as vigilance is acting before disaster strikes.
“I would love to get more funds for another RV in case another team needs it,” she said. “We need to anticipate a surge in Santa Barbara and anticipate what we need in the county.”
Since opening their doors to help, the nonprofit has seen an influx of support from the community. Noting a donation of 1,000 masks from a Chinese American UCSB student, as well as a large batch of gloves courtesy of SBCC, Ms. Binetti has been amazed at how quickly Santa Barbara has come together.
Yet, that solidarity is what One805 was built on.
Following the Thomas Fire and Montecito Mudslides in 2018, One805 was created to thank the workers who dealt with the devastation firsthand. While originally just a fundraising operation, the nonprofit has since grown to be much more than that.
Today, One805 acts as a bridge between each of the Santa Barbara County and City Fire, Sheriff and Police Departments. This not only means providing funds, but also connecting and facilitating better communication with the different first responders.
To do so, One805’s Advisory Council is composed of each Santa Barbara County Fire, Sheriff and Police Department heads, who collectively vote where funds go among them. The nonprofit also provides public emergency preparedness and educational programs, bridging the divide among first responders and community members as well.
In fact, One805 has emerged as an unexpected asset for staying informed in the last month. Two weeks before the coronavirus pandemic hit home, the organization came out with an up-to-the-minute emergency Twitter feed. While created with other disasters in mind, Ms. Binetti was glad the service was ready for any sort of crisis, even a national pandemic.
Working as a countywide news filter, a One805 employee listens to the first responder scanners and public service conferences of every city and county office, choosing what information is Twitter-worthy. This way, those who follow the nonprofit @One805sb on the platform (and have their notifications turned on, Ms. Binetti urged) can get live updates to what’s going on around town – an especially useful tool in a period of constantly changing conditions.
“We were one of the first ones to announce the first case (of COVID-19) in the county,” said Ms. Binetti. “(One805) has the only real time feed in Santa Barbara.”
For those who aren’t able to donate financially or with supplies, following One805’s Twitter account can be a good way to support medical workers and first responders, Ms. Binetti continued. To her, even just liking a post shows those on the frontlines how much the community cares.
“Work together and do your part,” she said. “That’s what I tell people all the time – it’s not just about the money. Follow us on social media. Being supportive to a first responder is about the love and letting them know the public is behind them.”
Ms. Binetti sees the impact of that support every day, as her husband is often the subject of those messages.
“My husband is a first responder,” she said. “Seeing all those things out there is encouraging. I know how far that love and appreciation can go.”
For more information to donate, go to One805.org.