It has been two months since the United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County (UBGC) launched its Whatever It Takes challenge of raising $250,000 to help underwrite the costs of its food distributions and online programming for April, May and June.

UBGC has announced it surpassed its goal for a total of $266,298.50. UBGC thanks Jeff and Judy Henley and The Gerald W. Fackler Charitable Remainder Trust for kicking off a challenge grant with an initial $250,000.

Two months ago, just like schools in the communities, UBGC closed for normal operations due to the COVID-19, but didn’t close its doors to help find ways to help serve the community.

UBGC collaborated with The Food Bank of Santa Barbara to turn its clubs into distribution centers. The clubs went from rooms filled with kids to rooms of volunteers packaging food for those who needed it the most.

“The obvious path for us to take would have been to close our clubs completely and offer programming again when the schools re-opened,” said CEO, Michael Baker.

After two months, UBGC has distributed food that impacted 75,603 individuals between the six communities UBGC serves Lompoc, Buellton/Solvang, Goleta, Santa Barbara and Carpinteria.

Over the past two months, UBGC also launched virtual programming for club members.

“The goal is that our members can stay engaged socially, as well as get the help they need with their homework,” said Baker. “This is also an opportunity for our members to re-connect with their club director for some much needed mentoring time.”

UBGC has been able to reach more than 300 members who participate in their virtual programming.

On another front, the Lend a Socially-Distant Hand campaign UBGC launched has also garnered them great success. “We have reached out to incredibly skilled contractors to see if they would “lend a socially-distant hand” to make our clubs even better when we re-open for our members,” Baker said.

To date, UBGC has had work done by locksmiths, roofers, artists, handymen, which has saved the organization thousands of dollars. These companies lent their time and talent in building a new check-in counter, add incredible murals as well as replace the roofs on the older cabins at Camp Whittier.

“I always say, when you do the right thing, people will step up and help you out,” Baker said. “This is another example of that.

“Santa Barbara County is a special place, and they love the United Boys & Girls Clubs. With their ongoing support, we will be able to continue the critical work we are doing and help those that need our services the most.”

United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County is still looking for an electrician to lend a socially distant hand for club repairs. UBGC also seeks retired or current teachers to help with virtual homework help.

To learn more about UBGC campaigns and projects or to donate, visit or call 805-681-1315.