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Montecito Churches Fill Up Backpacks for Needy Children

Volunteers stuff 900 backpacks with school supplies for delivery to Peoples' Self-Help Housing complexes.

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Volunteers write notes to children living in Peoples’ Self-Help Housing’s rental complexes in Santa Barbara County. The students will receive free backpacks filled with school supplies courtesy of the four Montecito churches: All Saints By-the-Sea Episcopal Church, El Montecito Presbyterian Church, Montecito Covenant Church and Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church. (Peoples’ Self-Help Housing photo)

Four Montecito churches worked together Saturday to fill 900 backpacks with school supplies for children who live in Peoples’ Self-Help Housing developments, from Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, Goleta, Santa Maria and Guadalupe.

Volunteers from the Community of Montecito Churches — also known as M4 — were from All Saints By-the-Sea Episcopal Church, El Montecito Presbyterian Church, Montecito Covenant Church and Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church.

More than 100 youths and adult volunteers met at ElMo Pres, 1455 East Valley Road, to sort and stuff each age-appropriate backpack.

The backpacks and school supplies were donated by the four churches and their parishioners. Peoples’ Self-Help Housing will deliver them this week to children in the low-income housing developments.

“The leadership and parishioners of the four churches are truly grateful for this opportunity through Peoples’ Self-Help Housing to serve these local children of lower-income families, and to help guarantee that they have the tools necessary to thrive in their school environments,” said Don Johnson, pastor at Montecito Covenant and spokesman for M4.

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Volunteers, holding a few of the 900 backpacks filled Saturday, included, from left, El Montecito Presbyterian pastor Harold Bussell; Peoples’ Self-Help Housing development director Rochelle Rose; pastor Don Johnson of Montecito Covenant; the Revs. Jeff Bullock and Rob Fisher of All Saints By-the-Sea; and Sister Kathleen Patrice of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. (Peoples’ Self-Help Housing photo)
Present at the event were El Montecito Presbyterian pastor Harold Bussell; Montecito Covenant pastor Don Johnson; the Rev. Jeff Bullock, rector, and the Rev. Rob Fisher, associate rector, at All Saints By-the-Sea; and Sister Kathleen Patrice of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Peoples’ Self-Help Housing was represented by development director Rochelle Rose, youth education coordinator Katie Falbo and youth educator Brittany Hadidian.

Peoples’ Self-Help Housing was founded in 1970 to address the serious affordable housing needs on the Central Coast and its accompanying social problems. Its mission is to create self-help home ownership opportunities, quality low-income rental housing, as well as youth education, health and community services to low-income families, seniors and special needs groups living in PSHH facilities

To date, Peoples’ has built 1,000 self-help homes and has developed 1,200 affordable rental units, serving 6,000 low-income residents throughout Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Ventura counties.

Click here for more information on how to donate to the M4 Backpack Project or to volunteer, or call Falbo at PSSH at 805.962.5152 x233.

Rochelle Rose represents Peoples’ Self-Help Housing.

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