The WillBridge of Santa Barbara housing and street outreach program will start providing lunches to the homeless twice a week after the Casa Esperanza shelter announced the end of its Community Kitchen and walk-in programs.
Partnering with the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, WillBridge will distribute free lunches on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Pershing Park and Alameda Park in Santa Barbara, and in Isla Vista.
WillBridge provides transitional and permanent supportive housing, medical services and street outreach for homeless, mentally-ill adults.
In late August, Casa Esperanza announced it would no longer provide meals to people who weren’t staying in the residential shelter and medical shelter programs. Its Community Kitchen lunch program and drop-in services stopped this week after almost 25 years of serving meals to the homeless.
Executive Director Mike Foley has said funding trends shifted to “housing first” services, so the walk-in and day programs had to be cut. The shelter may sell its Cacique Street building and lease it back to reduce debt.
To donate food, money or time to WillBridge, call 805.564.1911 or drop off donations in person at 2904 State St., Suite A in Santa Barbara.