SANTA BARARA, Calif. - ‘Peace and All Good.’ That’s the message behind a volunteer food effort happening each Tuesday morning at Old Mission Santa Barbara.
“I would say we’ve probably had, I don’t know, 40 cars and we just started just a few minutes ago. Actually, we just started 7 minutes ago,” said Father Larry Gosselin, with his infectious chuckle.
More than a dozen volunteers were busy in the Mission’s side parking lot, loading boxes of fresh produce into people’s cars. The boxes are donated by Guy De Mangeon, owner and founder of The Berry Man.
“This week we have 350 and so each week we’ve been increasing by 50 because we’ve been getting more and more participants,” Father Larry said. “And, it’s unlimited. Whatever we can pass out we’ll be able to get. The Berry Man is very generous.”
This Tuesday morning marked the fifth week of the effort. Suzy Plott, the Mission’s Community Development and Marketing Manager, estimated roughly 1,000 produce boxes have been donated since the event began.
The two hour event, from 10:00 a.m. to noon, is open to anyone in need, no questions asked and no forms to fill out. Many of the drivers coming through are picking up for local non-profits, including a man named Mark, who picked up five boxes.
“It’s amazing! You know, I volunteer for Hospice of Santa Barbara and I pick up the boxes and we have this great no contact, I don’t knock, I just drop ‘em on the porch and then text them,” Mark said. “They need this. These people are home, they’re facing life-threatening illnesses, they can’t leave the house. This is just a huge thing for them.”
“He’s a perfect example of how we’ve been working with other local non-profits to really help them execute their mission and get out to their clients,” Plott said.
The boxes contain two-sided flyers both in English and Spanish. Father Larry said the group is working on a way to deliver the produce boxes to people in need who don’t have access to a car and will continue the effort through December.
For more information about The Berry Man, Inc. click the following link: https://theberryman.com/code/
For more information about Old Mission Santa Barbara click the attached link: https://www.santabarbaramission.org