Saturday, March 17 , 2018, 5:55 am | Fair 49º


Riviera Bank Gives to Foodbank, Unity Shoppe to Aid Fire Victims

Laurie Leighty, left, of American Riviera Bank, presents a check to Leslie Velez of the FoodBank. Click to view larger
Laurie Leighty, left, of American Riviera Bank, presents a check to Leslie Velez of the FoodBank.   (Courtesy photo)

Seeking to help people in the local community it serves, American Riviera Bank is donating $5,000 to be shared equally by the Unity Shoppe and the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County to help victims of the Thomas Fire.

These donations will be matched by a grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank for a total gift of $10,000-$5,000 to each organization.

The Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco is working with other financial institutions to support victims of wildfires and other natural disasters in California.

“Our hearts go out to the many people who lost homes or suffered other hardships because of the Thomas Fire. Our wish for this holiday season is that people can get back on their feet soon,” said Jeff DeVine, American Riviera Bank president/CEO.

The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County provides food assistance to families, children, adults and seniors.

While local schools are closed due to the Thomas Fire, the Foodbank is providing healthy lunches for kids who are missing their school meal programs.

Santa Barbara-area children miss more than 28,000 meals each day the schools are closed, the Foodbank reports.

The Unity Shoppe operates a year-round free grocery and clothing store that distributes more than $2 million in merchandise annually to those in need.

Unity Shoppe is accepting new toys, food and funds to buy needed items at wholesale prices so clients and fire victims can shop for their needs when they are ready.

Unity Shoppe anticipates most people will be evaluating their needs after mid-January, once they learn what has been destroyed or damaged and if they need to rent or return to their homes.

Anticipated needs will include blankets, sleeping bags, towels, bedding, pajamas, socks, sneakers, coats, sweaters, cookware, dishes, utensils and furniture.

— Jennifer Goddard Combs for American Riviera Bank.

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