It Takes a Village to Help Our Village!

By Giving List Staff   |   March 5, 2021

Someone once said that it takes a village to raise a child; at Unity Shoppe, we say that it takes a village to help a village — and every day we offer our gratitude for that support:  to Unity’s essential employees for their selfless work, especially in this last year, when our Community needed it most; to our volunteers who normally join us throughout the year, in numbers typically nearing 2,000 strong, through a range of initiatives, contributing their handiwork, their time and willingness to lend a hand, and their desire to collect dollar amounts and in-kind donations large and small to make a difference in the lives of our local residents. And what of our donors? When we ask — and we do ask — their positive response and generous support is never taken for granted!

Here are just but two examples of the kind of big-hearted folks we mean.  Meet Kathy and Christina, who will also be featured as part of our upcoming Spring Newsletter due out in early April. 

If you would like to receive a copy, and learn more about all things Unity during the pandemic, and how we’re going to keeping supporting our Community in novel ways during the rest of 2021, email us your post mail address to pat@unityshoppe.org, and we’ll be sure to send you a copy!

Ms. Christina Rodriguez: A MOST Essential Worker!

How do we explain why Christina is one of our MOST essential workers? … In her own words, of course!

From a very young age, all I ever wanted was to rescue and heal all living creatures who were being mistreated and needed caring for. As I got older that feeling only got stronger, so when I found “my perfect first job” at Unity Shoppe, I vowed to keep it for as long as possible! That was 1995, and I’ve never looked back since!

Christina has been an integral member of the Unity Shoppe family since joining the team 16 years ago, when she was hired to open Unity’s Gift Shoppe on State Street. Fast forward several years of on-the-job training in many different capacities — merchandising, purchasing, inventorying, client services, staff supervision, and volunteer oversight — and you’re left with an employee like no other: the person capable of filling Barbara’s shoes as Manager of Operations!

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t miss our dear Miss Barbara. More than anything, I want to continue to make her proud by fulfilling the role she taught me so well. Partly because it was among her last wishes, but mostly because I owe it to her and to all of the wonderful people who have turned to Unity for help — especially in this last year. Nothing makes me more proud than to be part of a team that can make a genuine difference in the lives of so many who are less fortunate.

Leading others with her big warm heart, engaging smile, and years of experience under Barbara’s mentorship, we know Christina will shine bright in her newest role at Unity Shoppe!

An Extraordinary Volunteer with a Heart of Gold…Much Like That of Her Hero

No single phrase adequately describes the powerhouse that is Kathy Hughes…a part of the Unity Shoppe family for over 30 years, she’s been a devoted volunteer, donor, cheerleader, Community member, and successful realtor at Berkshire Hathaway who isn’t bashful about sharing her strong work ethic or passion for the woman she considered her mentor, teacher, and friend — Barbara Tellefson.

I had the honor of really watching Barbara from up close over the years, and when I think about her…what comes to mind first is how she brought the Santa Barbara Community together at Unity Shoppe and just how many thousands of people she was able to help during her lifetime. Barbara was my hero, and she taught me incredible life lessons that I try to embody every day: how to care, how to give generously to others, and how to treat people — all people — with love and respect.

As much as it saddens me to think of Unity Shoppe and our Community  without Barbara, I am comforted to know that her legacy lives on in the caring staff who work in service of others — especially during this incredibly trying time. I know that Barbara’s vision and mission will live on in Unity Shoppe with the help of her many caring supporters and volunteers, just like me, for years to come.

Thank you Kathy for your volunteership and support over three decades, for your most recent sponsorship of our 34th Annual Telethon in December 2020, and the additional matching dollars it generated — thanks to your generous outreach effort — from all across the Community … a heart of gold indeed!

 

Unity Shoppe

unityshoppe.org
Phone: (805) 979-9511
Donor Relations Director: Pat Hitchcock

Mission

Unity Shoppe, Inc.
For over 100 years, Unity Shoppe, Inc. has been building a sustainable support system for all those in our Community who face unforeseen crises by providing free, essential services: nutritious food, school clothing, senior care and volunteerism programs, and job training for youth and adults. Always a-political, non-denominational, and non-discriminatory: Unity Shoppe, Inc. is here for everyone.

Begin to Build a Relationship

We know you care about where your money goes and how it is used. Connect with this organization’s leadership in order to begin to build this important relationship. Your email will be sent directly to this organization’s director of development and/or Executive Director.

I Never Thought This Would Happen to Me

“Guardian angels have shown up throughout my life: my husband moved from New York for me, my district manager encouraged me to become a retail store manager, and last year it was Unity Shoppe. We lost our lease without warning and needed to move into a hotel with our children. Unity provided us with months of needed groceries. Today, we’re in our own place and eager to give back. We want others to know they’re not alone – it’s okay to ask for help!”
– Laura Symmonds

Striving to Become Debt Free

Fulfilling its mission and running a nonprofit at the scale of Unity Shoppe is a costly endeavor. A key component of maintaining sustainability is eliminating overhead. Currently Unity Shoppe is carrying $3.5 million in mortgage debt before it owns its property and is able to apply annual fundraising dollars entirely to support programs and services for Community residents in need. Donations designated to pay down the mortgage will be matched up to $1 million dollars by an anonymous donor.

Board of Directors

Cynthia Hooper, Vice Chairman, Community West Bank
Barbara E. Tellefson, President/Director of Operations, In Memoriam
Patti Boucher, Secretary, Union Bank VP
Reed Spangler, Treasurer-Financial Officer, MacFarlane & Faletti
Les Carroll, KZSB Radio General Manager
Frank Corral, Meta Law, Inc.
Susan Rodriguez, Brown & Brown Insurance President
Jerry Herzberg, Jer’s Repairs Heating and Air
Kenneth Kahn, Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians
Jonatha King, King Communications Owner
David Prichard, US Trust, B of A Private Wealth Management
Thomas D. Reed, Executive Director