Long before the storm hit Santa Barbara in early January, Easy Lift drivers were working around the clock helping residents, including the elderly, evacuate their homes.
With the help of the Santa Barbara Office of Emergency Management, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department and the Santa Barbara American Red Cross, Easy Lift used its specialized transportation services to aid some 600 individuals during the Thomas Fire and mudslides.
To help recuperate those expenses and allow Easy Lift to continue serving the community, United Way of Santa Barbara County’s Long Term Recovery Committee has awarded the organization $15,000 through the United Way Thomas Fire and Flood Fund.
“I would like to extend a special thanks to United Way of Santa Barbara County who stepped up as the advisory board for all of the recovered funds,” said Ernesto Paredes, executive director of Easy Lift.
“This money will serve as a reimbursement for the expenses acquired during this time. It will also allow us to maintain our budget,” he said.
Of the many evacuations Easy Lift drivers helped facilitate, their aid to Casa Dorinda, a Montecito-based retirement community, was one of the most significant.
Due to the flooding, Casa Dorinda was short on water and electricity, compelling staff to find alternative, temporary housing for residents. Easy Lift transported residents to Vista Del Monte, Mission Terrace, Serenity House, Mariposa and a nursing home in Santa Maria.
Additionally, Easy Lift continued to assist with coordinating transportation for individuals returning home or recovering items from their residences.
For more information about Easy Lift, visit www.easylift.org/.
Easy Lift is one of 20 community organizations to receive funding from the United Way Thomas Fire and Flood Fund in Santa Barbara County.
Some $1.9 million has been allocated to Santa Barbara County’s affected families and the organizations serving them. UWSBC distributed 100 percent of the allocated donations.
For more information about recipient agencies, visit www.unitedwaysb.org/thomas-recovery.
Angel Pacheco is a publicist for United Way of Santa Barbara County