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Valle Verde’s Santas Donate Handmade Toys and Clothes to the Unity Shoppe

Each year the Valle Verde Knitting Club donates handmade clothing items to local children. Click to view larger
Each year the Valle Verde Knitting Club donates handmade clothing items to local children. (Valle Verde photo)

The Unity Shoppe held a gratitude ceremony and tour for the Secret Santas from Valle Verde Retirement Community’s Hobby Shop and Knitting Club Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2016.  

Each year, Valle Verde residents donate handmade toys and clothes to more than 200 children in the Santa Barbara community. 

“Valle Verde’s Santas have been making toys and clothes for the Unity Shoppe for more than 18 years, and we really appreciate the hard work and time they put into making these handmade items. The children absolutely love them,” said Pat Hitchcock of the Unity Shoppe.

For Valle Verde Residents, creating gifts for low-income children in the community is an expression of gratitude that makes their efforts worth doing.

“This is a labor of love,” said Kathy Chalfant, a Valle Verde Knitting Club member. “The Unity Shoppe is a wonderful organization. They work tirelessly all year helping people in our community, and we wanted to lend a hand. Just the thought of an excited child opening one of our gifts keeps our knitting needles moving.”

Accordingto Dan Cameron, another Valled Verde resident, “We start our toy workshop early, knowing that handmade toys are fun for kids. It is heart-warming to help our local kids in need. We have a great time making these for the kids, and all parents can appreciate a little old-fashioned fun that won’t drive them crazy with flashing lights and buzzing games.” 

According to Melissa Honig, executive director of the retirement community, the residents' annual efforts to help those in need have become part of daily life at Valle Verde.

Seniors also build toys without all the flashing lights that kids might otherwise find under the tree. Click to view larger
Seniors also build toys without all the flashing lights that kids might otherwise find under the tree.  (Valle Verde photo)

"Valle Verde residents are incredibly talented and love sharing their gifts with the greater Santa Barbara community. I'm grateful volunteerism and community involvement are a strong part of our everyday rhythm," Honig said.

The Unity Shoppe serves over 20,000 low-income people, including 3,000 seniors and almost 10,000 children. Clients are referred by over 300 other nonprofit agencies, schools, hospitals and churches.

Donations can be made to the Unity Shoppe online at www.unityshoppe.org or at 1401 Chapala Street from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

— Toby Ayars is a publicist representing Valle Verde Retirement Community.

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