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Christmas Basket Program Helps Needy Families in Santa Ynez Valley

Every year, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and Old Mission Santa Ines bring together Santa Ynez Valley organizations, businesses, churches and individuals to provide Christmas for families who might otherwise go without. This year is the gift program’s 13th with 171 struggling families asking for help.

Recipients must be residents of the Santa Ynez Valley (Ballard, Buellton, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez or Solvang). The program is open to families with minor children who are struggling financially and are unable to provide for their families.

On Dec. 20, each family will receive a large hamper of food, staples and toiletries, a decorated box filled with wrapped presents for each member of the family, a gift card for a supermarket, and two chickens generously donated by El Rancho Market.

There are many ways for the public to help, such as financial donations to purchase food. All donations are tax deductible and all funds go directly to the families. There are no administrative fees. Checks may be made out to Old Mission Santa Ines, 1760 Mission Drive, P.O. Box 408, Solvang, CA 93464, referencing Christmas Basket Program. People can also donate additional food items.

“Last year, we had a very enthusiastic response, and all the families were adopted by the first week in December," St. Vincent de Paul Society local organizer Genevieve Geyser said. "We received help from the Salvation Army, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Foundation, Terravant Wine Company, The Valley Foundation, Los Olivos Rotary, St. Mark’s-in-the-Valley Episcopal Church, El Rancho Market, First Church of Christ Scientist, SYV Presbyterian Church, Solvang Morning Rotary, Premier Pilates of Santa Ynez, Danish Sisterhood of America, Lucky Clover 4-H, Santa Ynez Valley Charter School, Forever Posh, Westwinds Training, Wild Hair, Santa Barbara Bank & Trust and Costco. We have really come together as a community to take care of our own.”

To help the needy, please contact Geyser at 805.452.3140.

— Laura Kath represents the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

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