Monday, May 21 , 2018, 8:21 am | Mostly Cloudy 59º


Unity Shoppe Gets a Show of Helping Hands from Local Girl Scouts

Washington School fifth-graders stock shelves, deliver holiday spirit to nonprofit's customers

[Click here for a Noozhawk photo gallery.]

Girl Scouts were showing their holiday spirit Saturday by volunteering at Unity Shoppe in downtown Santa Barbara.

A group of 10 fifth-graders from Washington Elementary School on the Mesa gave a helping hand in time for Christmas.

“I just like the feeling of helping people, and I think it’s really fun,” said Emma Zavala, 10.

The girls helped stock shelves, labeled products with bar codes and guided Unity Shoppe customers through the aisles to shop. Dressed in aprons with “Unity Shoppe” printed on them, they pushed the carts along the passages in what looks like Santa’s village, pointing at the shelves and telling the shoppers how many cans, pieces or boxes of products they could pick from each.

“Two (cans) from the beans, and five pieces of bread,” the girls repeated clearly on each round.

Unity Shoppe, which has been located at 1219 State St. for the past 10 years, has a hidden back store adjacent to Victoria Court. The store provides food, clothes, toys and knick-knacks for families who earn an income below the federal poverty level.

The store is built for children: the check-in office is a ship, a model train runs above the visitors’ heads, and an oversized Ronald McDonald beckons shoppers to sit with him on a bench.

“Santa built it,” said Barbara Tellefson, president and director of operations at Unity Shoppe.

Amid the decked halls, St. Nick can also be spotted working in a corner of the store.

Some shelves were filled, but the meat-fish shelf, among others, was empty.

Tellefson, who has been involved with the nonprofit organization since 1974, said Unity Shoppe currently has enough food to supply families only up to Christmas Day.

“We need people to donate, especially in times like these,” she said.

Most of the food is bought but some is donated by grocery markets like Lazy Acres and Gelson’s.

“Just the feeling of helping people ... help people get their food,” said Eva Moschitto, 10, when asked about her enthusiasm for the task. “They’re pretty happy to see all the things ... Kids are running around in the toy section.”

Unity Shoppe always welcomes volunteers. Those interested can contact Tellefson at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or simply show up.

“Often we don’t have very many, and sometimes a celebrity will come in,” she said, listing part-time local residents Kenny Loggins, Brad Paisley and Brad Pitt as previous helpers.

Unity Shoppe also organizes the annual Santa Barbara Motorcycle Toy Run, which will be stretching from Montecito to Goleta on Sunday. The 25th annual ride is expected to attract 500 to 600 motorcyclists.

Click here for more information on Unity Shoppe, or call 805.965.4122. Click here to make an online donation to Unity Shoppe.

Noozhawk intern Gabriella Slabiak can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Supporter

Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >