Needs at Unity Shoppe

By Kelly Mahan Herrick   |   March 26, 2020

Unity Shoppe (Unity) is offering free food and other essentials to Santa Barbarans who are now unemployed or unable to work due to the spread and impact of the Coronavirus pandemic. To meet the overwhelming need, Unity has consolidated its offerings to food distribution alone and now estimates it is serving more than three times the number of families that came in for services prior to the pandemic. As daily layoffs continue and vulnerable populations begin to run out of groceries, Unity anticipates that it will go through larger quantities of food and other supplies than ever before to keep up with the growing demand.

Donations from the public are needed immediately to purchase both fresh produce, and canned, jarred, and boxed staples with longer shelf lives, as well as masks and disinfecting wipes to keep Unity staff and the public safe.

“We are living in unprecedented times,” says Tom Reed, Unity’s Executive Director. “Hourly employees, whose work hours and wages have been scaled back dramatically or have been let go, either cannot work or must work skeletal shifts are finding their food supplies dwindling. The closing of their children’s schools and daycare centers are further complicating their lives. Our area’s seniors and disabled folks, who live on fixed incomes, or have compromised immune systems, who might be homebound or have trouble getting around, are wondering how they’ll possibly get through this alone.”

Over the next six to 12 months, Unity anticipates that its services will be utilized to capacity much like they were during the Thomas Fire and Montecito debris flow.

If you are in need of food or other essentials, call Unity’s main number at (805) 965-4122 for assistance. Unity Shoppe Food Distribution Services is located at 1401 Chapala Street, Monday through Friday, 1 pm to 4 pm, until further notice. To make monetary donations, go to or mail checks to 1209 State Street, Santa Barbara 93101. Donations of nonperishables can be dropped off at Unity’s side entrance: 110 West Sola Street, Monday through Friday, 10 am to 5 pm.


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