Good news for Santa Barbara’s struggling Unity Shoppe and the thousands of people it serves.
Dwindling donations and a shrinking budget forced the non-profit to close its doors mid-September, temporarily. Weeks later, a $100,000 dollar challenge grant by Diana and Simon Raab inspired others in the community to step up, including Patricia Bragg of locally-based Bragg Live Food Products.
Tom Reed, Executive Director of the Unity Shoppe, said Bragg recently wrote a check for $100,000 dollars.
“Everybody listening, I want you to be part of Unity to help, to give, to be part of it! Woo-hoo!” Bragg hooted during a videotaped clip with Reed.
“This is a huge celebration, unbelievable!” Reed said. “All of that gets us about halfway to the shortfall. We’re just not done but this is getting us back on track so that Unity can open mid-November for the Thanksgiving and the 3,000 people coming through for Christmas.”
Reed also revealed that a third, anonymous donor has come forward with another $100,000 dollar matching grant but admitted that the Unity Shoppe’s future remained somewhat uncertain.
“A lot will be determined by how the community supports us,” Reed said. “There are some hard decisions that may have to be made in January. We will open but if we have to cut back, we don’t want to lose any employees. But whatever decisions we have to make in early January, we’ll face that. But it kind of depends on what happens between now and the end of the year.”