In April, the Alternate Giving and Panhandling Education Campaign, “Real Change, Not Spare Change,” was launched to provide education and ways for people in Santa Barbara to redirect their generosity to better help those in need in the community, with the first “Real Change Day” held July 21.

Now, once again, all Santa Barbara residents and visitors are invited to join the cause on Wednesday, Oct. 20, the campaign’s second “Real Change Day,” and patronize local businesses dedicating a percentage of their sales or a flat donation to the “Real Change, Not Spare Change” campaign.

The donations will be managed by Casa Esperanza Homeless Center to help fund the street outreach that is the key to connecting the homeless with needed services.

Santa Barbara residents and visitors who wish to help but are not able to patronize local businesses on Oct. 20 can donate $5 by cell phone by sending the text message “ChangeSB” to 85944.

The Santa Barbara Downtown Organization is organizing Real Change Day, this time in coordination with its month-long culinary event during October.

On Wednesday, Oct. 20, patronize these local businesses and a percentage of their proceeds for the day, or a designated amount, will go to the “Real Change, Not Spare Change” campaign:

» The Book Den
» Indigo Interiors
» Italian Pottery Outlet
» Los Arroyos Mexican Restaurants
» Lovebird Boutique
» Paradise Found
» Partnervest Financial Group LLC
» Pascucci Restaurant
» Santa Barbara Trolley Co.

Click here for the most up-to-date list of participating businesses, and businesses can still sign up to participate.

In addition to supporting local businesses on Oct. 20, all Santa Barbara residents and visitors can contribute to “Real Change, Not Spare Change” at any time online at The Web site includes ideas for other ways to support or get involved with local services.

An estimated $600,000 is given to people who panhandle in Santa Barbara each year. Real Change aims to redirect this generosity to support the local services that serve those in need.

Businesses, workplaces and community groups can help support Real Change at any time by hosting countertop donation boxes, countertop signs or posters. Casa Esperanza staff and volunteers collect the donations on a regular pickup schedule or can be called for special pickup when a donation box is full.

To receive a donation box and other materials, businesses or community groups should call the Santa Barbara Downtown Organization at 805.962.2098 x25.

— Marjorie Wass is a publicist.