Bucket Brigade Updates

By Kelly Mahan Herrick   |   June 11, 2020
Ablitt’s Fine Cleaners has partnered with the Bucket Brigade to wash and sort all donated masks; the Bucket Brigade volunteers have sewn over 16,000 masks since April

On Tuesday, June 2, fourth graders at Laguna Blanca Lower School held their Citizenship Event via Zoom. Usually held as a special breakfast on campus, the event is a culmination of curriculum taught in the fourth grade, focusing on good citizenship and leadership.

Each year, students choose members of the community who exhibit the Six Pillars of Character, which include responsibility, respect, caring, fairness, trustworthiness, and citizenship. They then research the community member through interviews, and write a speech about them. On Tuesday, a special video was shown with the fourth graders talking about their chosen Citizens, which included Nick Riley, wildland firefighter; Dr. Brian Baumgartner, ENT specialist; Lynn Ahlberg, nurse; Lori Luhnow, Santa Barbara’s Chief of Police; Emma Gotwald-Wright, nurse; Tim Tunget, manager at Costco; and Dr. Jason Prystowsky, ER doctor.

Keynote speaker at the heartwarming event was Abe Powell, founder of the Santa Barbara Bucket Brigade. Powell gave a brief presentation to the fourth graders on the Bucket Brigade, and how it came to be in 2018, following the 1/9 Debris Flow. “Our goal was to dig out one house. Just one. But then over one hundred more neighbors started asking for help,” Powell said. “So then our goal was to help as long as we could,” he added. The organization, which is funded in part by private donation, continued its community involvement and work beyond the mudslide, in alignment with its mission statement. “We decided to keep helping, because the Bucket Brigade was created to prepare for and respond to natural disasters and community crises through volunteer training, coordination, and deployment,” he said, adding that the group of volunteers has grown to hundreds of people.

Bucket Brigade volunteers filled over 100 tote bags for seniors in our community, filled with personal care items and hand-sewn facemasks

During the pandemic, the Bucket Brigade has assembled a team of over 400 people who have sewed over 16,000 face masks; the Bucket Brigade’s goal is 30,000. Just last week, 15 volunteers showed up at 10 am at the Montecito Library parking lot to fill more than 100 big gift totes with food and personal-care items for the Friendship Center Adult Day Services. At noon, another dozen volunteers showed up in their vehicles to pick up the totes and deliver them to seniors who have been sheltering in place throughout the pandemic. The volunteer day was a partnership event between the Santa Barbara Bucket Brigade and the Friendship Center.

After his address to the students, Powell answered several questions about the Bucket Brigade, and encouraged the fourth graders to become involved in volunteerism in their community. To learn more about the Bucket Brigade, visit www.sbbucketbrigade.org. For more information about Laguna Blanca, visit www.lagunablanca.org.


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