2020: A Challenging (and Rewarding) Year Like No Other…

By Giving List Staff   |   April 8, 2021

2020 was a year like no other, and it confirmed for us that nothing – not even a worldwide pandemic – could hamper Unity Shoppe’s dedication to the people of Santa Barbara, especially those who felt most vulnerable or experienced sudden job loss and needed a place to turn during this crisis. 

Led by our fearless founder, Barbara Tellefson, we quickly moved into high gear, consolidating all of our programs and services down to distributing food alone in a way that was safe and would help as many people as possible without losing site of our 100-year-old mission: to offer people choice in what they receive and to do so without compromising their dignity or self-respect. 

We quickly secured PPE, kept our essential staff and our Community’s most at-risk members healthy and safe, followed all safety guidelines, and met intense cleanliness standards. By doing so we were able to accommodate residents who could shop at Unity directly and receive free groceries they picked out themselves: farm fresh fruits and vegetables, refrigerated dairy products, poultry and beef, bread and baked goods, and canned and boxed staples too. The need for food has been so critical over this past year that we worked hard to ensure our clients, many of whom were families of 4-5 people, could shop for everything they needed every other week (up from only once per month in pre-Covid times). Hours were extended and front of the line privileges and automatic car loading assistance was offered to anyone who needed it by our essential staff, much like at any other supermarket around town. But not everyone was able to shop in person; for immuno-compromised, disabled or homebound residents from Goleta to Carpinteria, we instituted a highly sought after delivery service of groceries they pre-selected and we delivered right to their door.

For more information about Unity Shoppe, visit www.unityshoppe.org.

 

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