MONTECITO, Calif. - Front line workers living on a lean salary are getting some immediate financial help, not from the government, but from their regular customers - with no questions asked.
"I'm so excited, here it comes," said Alison Hardey, the owners of Jeannine's Restaurant and Bakery on Coast Village Road.
Each business is submitting a list of employee names to the 93108 fund. It is a nonprofit that has organized the effort.
The stack of envelopes for qualifying businesses are starting off with $100 in cash and paperwork to help the employee get services during their time of need.
The 93108 fund is organized by all volunteers, coordinated by Ron Blitzer who says the money will include "information on the food bank and the contacts at the food bank, and all the services that the county offers."
He says the workers can put it right to use before any government assistance comes through. "With $100 today, somebody can buy groceries, somebody can put gas in their car and take care of their children." He says it will likely serve 1,200 hourly wage earners.
"They are people that drive our community every day with service," said Blitzer.
Blitzer says the workers come from a wide economic base but he knows many of them and says they "probably don't have rich uncles and parents and it is not easy to go get unemployment insurance. It will take time."
Jeannine's restaurant was one of the first sites where a stack of envelopes arrived. Each contained $100 and some vital information.
It is estimated there could be 1,200 hourly workers in need of this funding.
Next week debit cars are coming out and they will have a cash value as well for a second distribution.
Eduardo Cortez and Lalo Mendoza at Jeannine's picked up their envelopes. Combined they have 38 years of experience in the kitchen and serving food.
The community donation and this funding gift for them and their coworkers here and around the area will be a significant help.
Mendoza said, "I think right now they are living day-by-day and they don't know what is going to happen in the future for them, it is very scary, yes it is, yes."
After the 2018 mudflow, the original 93108 fund was formed and helped hundreds of workers in Montecito and the adjacent Coast Village road area of Santa Barbara. Many who were emotionally touched by the generosity.
Blitzer recalls, "the emails, the notes, the letters and the tears of appreciation."
The basic area for the workers to get this donation will range from Hot Springs to East Valley Road and down to Channel Drive and it includes Coast Village Road.
Donations can be made to the 93108 fund site. Already there is a $15,000 matching contribution from The Kirby Jones Foundation.
For more information go to: 93108fund.org.