Sunday, March 18 , 2018, 7:26 am | Fair 42º


Rotary Club of Santa Barbara Parners With Kmart to Serve Foster Care Teens

Rotarians joined Kmart employees to purchase gifts for Santa Barbara foster care teens.
Rotarians joined Kmart employees to purchase gifts for Santa Barbara foster care teens. (Rotary Club of Santa Barbara photo)

The Rotary Club of Santa Barbara has teamed up with the Santa Barbara Social Services Department and the Family Care Network and Kmart to provide holiday gifts for teenagers in the foster care system.

This is the eighth year that the groups have come together to make sure that foster care teens are not overlooked during the holiday season.

Rotarians and friends raised more than $4,000 to purchase items and gift cards for 38 foster youth between the ages of 13-19 years old.

For the past eight years, teenagers in the Santa Barbara foster care system fill out a wish list survey, letting Rotarians know what they want for the holidays, what their hobbies and needs are and what dream gifts are on their list.

Kmart in Goleta and general manager Richard Slowikowski offered their services, helping match each teen's wish list with items in the store and giving a discount on all goods purchased through the program.

"The youth fill out a questionnaire with their favorite items, colors, sports teams, clothing sizes, etc. They put down their request for presents they would like to open." says Paul Zink, chair of the Foster Teen Program for the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara. "Rotarians shop in the Kmart store to make selections for each individual teenager, and Kmart provides employees to assist with the shopping. For those teens in our community in the foster-care program, this is our way of telling them that they matter and we hope for the best of them."

The Rotary Club of Santa Barbara meets at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort in Santa Barbara for lunch from 12 - 1:30 p.m. on Fridays.

Chris Clemens represents the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara.

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