SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Ready for medical check ups for people on the streets, in the homeless camps or living on the edge, Doctors Without Walls - Santa Barbara Street Medicine is seeing an ongoing increase in needs.
The work the front line responders are doing will help the most vulnerable from the impacts of the pandemic, viruses and illnesses that have gone untreated.
"They consider us their doctors. They consider us the people they come to when they have a question," said Doctors Without Walls - Santa Barbara Street Medicine Co-Founder Maggie Sanchez.
The work started in 2005.
Sanchez says, "when we started they were five volunteers and we served 350 people . This year we have 186 volunteers and through October we have already served 5642."
More volunteers, equipment and donations are needed.
"We are starting to find people that are starting to have the effects of being out in the cold, in the dark and especially vulnerable," said Sanchez. "Women are especially vulnerable."
A benefit show Thursday evening at the Marjorie Luke Theatre in Santa Barbara with Toad the Wet Sprocket will strike the right chord when it comes to a fundraising boost.
The band formed at San Marcos High in the 1980's and has gone on to international fame.
Lead singer/songwriter Glen Phillips has gone out with the street medicine team personally.
He hopes the community also rallies behind Doctors Without Walls this week
Phillips said, "they essentially are providing a mobile clinic for the unhoused population of Santa Barbara. They do absolutely incredible work in the community. Really happy to support them they are a lean mean very direct operation. "
When he is not on tour Phillips has stayed close to the street team.
"He has spent time out doing outreach with our volunteers and we are so excited to have Glen to provide the coats and the sleeping bags and all of the things people need right now, " said Sanchez.
With fresh donations Doctors Without Walls says it will add a new case manager and equipment to do electronic checkups in the camps and even have a telemedicine connection directly to a doctor.
For more information go to: Doctors Without Walls