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Tuesday, December 18 , 2018, 8:27 pm | Fair 50º


Laurel Abbott: Santa Barbara Realtors Far Surpass Fundraising Goal for Unity Shoppe

Last Saturday at the 27th Annual Unity Telethon, the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors presented the results of a yearlong contribution campaign from our members to this wonderful local cause.

The mission statement of the Unity Shoppe on its website includes the theory that if there is help with basic needs, it can prevent homelessness and welfare dependency: "The Unity Shoppe also teaches volunteers office and computer skills, merchandising, inventory control and customer relations as we prepare people for future job opportunities. More than 22,000 people are referred yearly by more than 300 nonprofit agencies, churches, schools and hospitals. By providing a central distribution facility available to all nonprofits we can eliminate duplication and save countless dollars."

Unity Shoppe operates a year-round “free” grocery and clothing store so people can shop with dignity for their basic needs. More than 1,700 volunteers help a small staff of 15. More than $2 million in merchandise is distributed annually.

This year marked the 25th year of Unity support from the real estate community, and it was our 20th year conducting a silent and live fundraising auction in December. This year, we formed an SBAOR committee to help focus year-round support for the Unity Shoppe led by chair Eddie Madrigal, co-chair Alyson Spann and hardworking committee members Dana Hansen, Roxanne Nomura, Scott Lindberg, Jim Caldwell, Ed  Fuller and Alec Bruice.

I was convinced that some of the members were living at the association, given all the hours they put in coordinating the auction items and fundraising events. Last year, we were able to contribute $13,500, a number we were proud of from our December auction. We launched a campaign to raise $20,000 to reflect our 20th year of coordinated support of the great work this organization performs locally.

In addition to the wildly successful Unity auction this year, we had monthly individual donations from Realtors and our first Unity Howl Halloween party. There were matching and substantial $5,000 donations from Village Properties and Sotheby's for the cause and contributions from Fidelity and Chicago Title companies as well as Broadview Mortgage. Most of the real estate offices and affiliate community as well as individuals donated gift certificates, baskets, raffle items and money for Unity.

We are proud to announce that we smashed our goal and presented a current fundraising amount to Unity of $34,175 and growing. These funds will help Unity honor "Our Heroes, Our Friends, Our Neighbors, Our Community." Click here for more information, or contact SBAOR to see how you can help.

Special thanks to the joyful Jennie Hannon, the events coordinator at SBAOR, for organizing the silent and live auction and providing office support to the committee.

Laurel Abbott is a real estate agent with Berkshire Hathaway California Properties and president of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. Contact her at [email protected] or 805.879.8050. The opinions expressed are her own.

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