SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The Santa Barbara Education Foundation (SBEF) has partnered with the non-profit Adam's Angels group to help students in need with hygiene kits.
The SBEF has the We Care program, with the goal of caring for staff and students of the SB School District.
Already gift cards has gone out to teachers and staff, and the current phase is focused on students with unmet needs.
One of the top concerns is personal hygiene products for low-income or homeless children.
On Mother's Day morning, a group of volunteers packed the first 200 kits in colorful bags that are now ready for distribution. Adam’s Angels is calling the campaign “Kits4Kids”.
The SBEF says this is one of the top needs for students at all levels as part of their day to day wellness.
Adam's Angels has been in the forefront of response actions in the community during the COVID crisis and beyond with a weekly program, mainly for adults, to help those in need with clothing, food, and toiletries.
The kid bags will go to elementary, middle and high school students through the We Care program.
The hygiene kits will be placed into “We Care” closets at each school site, along with additional items that students may need such as clothing, bus passes, grocery gift cards, and other essential items. The closets will be replenished as supplies run low, by both SBEF and Adam’s Angels.
Each kit will have items including soap, toothpaste, tooth brushes, deodorant, shampoo, brushes and nail clippers.
Adam's Angels is seeking donations to continue this program on an ongoing basis.
To move several large containers full of the personal kits, transportation was provided by a donated Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck from Leo Bunnin of Bunnin Chevrolet in Santa Barbara.
Santa Barbara School Superintendent Hilda Maldonado said, "this is it. This is really meeting the needs."
As part of the outreach to parents and students, the district says it is often asking what it can do to help. It also has many partners. "And I have been able to see first hand some of those needs in our community," said Maldonado. "For me it just means so much generosity, we are actually thinking differently about where we meet the need."
Adam's Angels founder Adam McKaig said, "when we heard (about the need for kits) we moved on it right away because we were shocked that the population is so high among young children."
The groups Vice President Elisabeth Baum-Jones looked to the future with this program, and discussed efficiencies as they learn about the distribution process. She met with Santa Barbara City Councilmember Alejandra Gutierrez who is also a family liaison organizer with the school district. They realized some of the kits may be a starting point, but that could change. As an example she said, "a family came in and has high needs and now they just come in for a toothbrush. It shows our progress."
She said there would be no unused items in the program and everything donated would go to the students in need. Already the district has the data and confidential systems to make sure these and other services are provided.
Margie Yahyavi with the Santa Barbara Education Foundation said, three schools will be the first recipients but "having hygiene kits at all the schools is the ultimate goal."
She was impressed by the collaboration. "We all have the same goals in mind so why would we double up our efforts, let's work together ."
By Wednesday afternoon the bags were assembled in the school district hearing room where they would then be sent out to the campuses.
The program is sustained by community donations.
Maldonado said this effort came together quickly, and it was similar to the need during COVID when many students did not have internet access. It was solved by getting wi-fi hot spots to the students through donations. That connected them to the internet and zoom classes, along with the ability to finish some homework assignments.
Financial contributions to the Kits4Kids program can be made through Adam's Angeles or purchased with a special link on Amazon. https://www.adamsangels-sb.org/kits4kids
To contribute towards all other aspects of the “We Care” campaign, please contact Eryn Shugart (firstname.lastname@example.org), Donor Advisement Officer at Santa Barbara Education Foundation (https://sbefoundation.org).