This year, United Way of Santa Barbara County’s annual Holiday Gift Drive helped bring joy to 252 local children and families.

A child at Franklin Elementary School delights in receiving a present from United Way of Santa Barbara County Gift Drive. (Isaac Hernández de Lipa)

The gifts, which were donated by 70 local companies and individuals, reached families across 13 different schools, organizations and programs.

“The smiles and joy warm anyone’s heart,” said Casie Killgore, principal of Franklin Elementary School. “The gratefulness of the families is unforgettable. These students had no idea what they were going to get and to be pulled out of class to open gifts with family. Amazing!”

This marks the third year of United Way’s Holiday Gift Drive, and the 2022 event set a record for the largest number of holiday wish lists fulfilled so far.

United Way works in tandem with schools and organizations to hand-select the families in greatest need each year.

“We’re proud to partner with our local community to support these families during the holiday season,” said Victoria Dominguez, supervisor of workplace and corporate development at United Way.

“Every child deserves to have something to unwrap that makes them feel special, and seeing the smiles on these families’ faces is the highlight of this time of year for us,” she said. “Thank you to everyone who helped make this year’s drive possible; we couldn’t do it without you.”

Supporters of the 2022 Holiday Gift Drive included ACME Hospitality, Amazon, American Riviera Bank, American Indian Health & Services, AppFolio Inc., Bechtel, Cottage Health, CrossnoKaye, ExxonMobil, L3Harris Technologies, NALS Apartment Homes, Northern Trust, Raytheon Technologies, Redwire Space, Stantec, Women United Members, Young Leaders Society members, and Santa Barbara County community members.

Partnering agencies and programs included Adelante Charter School, Aliso Elementary School, Buellton Union School District, Canalino Elementary School, College School District, Franklin Elementary School, Girls Inc., Guadalupe School District, Hope Elementary School District, and participants of United Way’s United Learning Center program.

For a full list of supporters and partners, visit To learn more about United Way, go to

For more About United Way of Santa Barbara County, visit