Patients from the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara with Sansum Clinic received a much-needed warm holiday meal for their families on Dec. 23 thanks to the generosity and kindness of local Agilysys employees and Albertsons located on Cliff Drive.

Employees from Agilysys, a hospitality technology company with offices in Santa Barbara, has been donating meals to Cancer Center patients since the year 2000. Nancy Naretto, senior manager of strategic alliances at Agilysys, said the employees make personal donations to support this cause.

“Agilysys employees wanted to do something to help local families in need, something that would really make a difference in our community,” she said. “We reached out to the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara and they indicated that food is a very real need for many of of these patients. We partnered with Albertsons on Cliff Drive to purchase and deliver dinners to these local families.”

Each year the Cancer Center identifies patients in need based on three criteria: if the patients have received treatment in the last year, if children are in the home and if the patient is low income. Mary Solis, manager of support services at the Cancer Center, is continually delighted by the generosity of Agilysys and Albertsons.

“I wish the employees of Agilysys and Albertsons who donate their time and money could see the look of joy on the patient’s faces when they receive this heartfelt gift,” she said. “These families are going through so much coping with cancer and its treatment during the holiday season. The families we selected also are struggling financially and would not be able to have a family holiday dinner without their generosity.”

Agilysys employee Catherine Statucki has been involved in providing meals for patients every year for the last 10 years.

“The battle against cancer is enough to handle, but coupling that with reduced income, or having to make a choice between food or healthcare is heartbreaking,” she said. “If we can help in a small way by providing this meal, we are more than happy to do so.”

Statucki also shared that the thank you notes from those receiving the meals make this generous act of giving an easy choice for her and her colleagues.

“It is very rewarding to read their kind words and realize how something as simple as a hot meal, that many often take for granted, means so much to them in their time of need,” she said.

On the evening of Dec. 23, Albertson employees donated their time to assemble and deliver 60 dinners to patients of the Cancer Center throughout Santa Barbara County. Each dinner was created with the funds raised by Agilysys employees. Families received a wonderful package of dinner for up to 10 that includes turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and more.

“I’ve been making these deliveries for years, and seeing the smiles on peoples’ faces is really gratifying. It is a highlight of my year,” shared Stan Martinez of Albertsons, who helped deliver the meals.

If you are interested in supporting patients in need at the Cancer Center, please contact Rob Dunton, director of philanthropy for the Cancer Center, at 805.898.3620.

— Jennie Jacobs is the marketing manager for Sansum Clinic.