When Your Neighbor is an Angel: Meet Adam McKaig of Adam’s Angels
Many of you are familiar with our Hands Across Montecito project – where Montecito neighbors are partnering as part of a Montecito Association initiative to help the unsheltered in our community find resources and housing. We have wonderful partnerships on this community-based and -supported effort, including our Sheriff’s and Montecito Fire departments and City Net to do outreach and placements, Behavioral Wellness of Santa Barbara County for mental health and substance use resources, and more. That effort led me to Montecito neighbor Adam McKaig, of Adam’s Angels – a network of volunteers that pull together all kinds of resources for community members in need, from clothing for seniors and women, to blankets and food for the homeless.
I met Adam at Alameda Park in late October. Adam’s Angels was handing out bags of non-perishable snack items for homeless individuals that come to the park each Thursday evening for food and services, organized by Westmont College. Several agencies come to provide services and assistance. I was stunned to find out Adam lived in Montecito in the Toro Canyon area, and urged him to become a Montecito Association member, and he did, thankfully. I asked him what led him to do this. It’s quite a story.
Adam grew up here, loves this community, and enjoys giving back. His father took him to rest homes as a child, and they’d hand out candy canes, and sing carols to seniors. He has a passion for caring about the welfare of others, and he sometimes cares so much that he’s sacrificed his welfare. When talking with Adam, you immediately sense his compassion and selflessness. He truly does care about the people in our community, and when they’re not thriving, he wants to help.
The pandemic put him on time out, as realtors were not considered essential services in the initial onset. Adam felt he needed to do something, so he started delivering groceries for seniors. Then he got a call from the Jewish Temple. They were hoping he could help distribute clothes needed for women, on the Jewish Sabbath. Adam was happy to fill in, and arranged for clothing donations, and delivered them. He discovered many of the women didn’t know how to protect themselves from COVID-19. So he located a supply of some of the few remaining N95 masks from earlier fires, and delivered those. Then he started making food, and delivering it to them. That led him to serving homeless individuals who also had a lot of needs during COVID. Adam leveraged his multiple local connections for blankets, food supplies, and storage for his now burgeoning operation. Nightclub EOS, which shuttered for the pandemic, offered to let him use their space for storage. He also drew a lot of volunteers to his side, as he’s very warm, charismatic, and open-hearted.
Adam’s Angels was born, with branding, a fetching T-shirt, a new storage van to haul supplies, and volunteers eager to help out in the pandemic. It sprang overnight into a humanitarian aid distribution agency.
I volunteered on Thanksgiving to help Adam’s Angels to distribute soup from the Organic Soup Kitchen, pumpkin pie slices, blankets, and snack kits in front the Unitarian Society, who kindly donated their space. It was clear after the initial rush we’d have plenty of supplies that could be distributed to other areas, including Montecito, so fellow Behavioral Wellness commissioner Marcos Olivarez and I loaded up my car and made deliveries, a great opportunity to do outreach.
Adam has created something very special in Adam’s Angels where people feel they can put their hands on their community, and make a real difference.
The global pandemic disrupted our normal lives, just like massive natural disasters. They strip away life as we knew it, and render what was important moments ago utterly meaningless now. But these kinds of upheavals also open new doors to be humanitarian, to be the best of us. Adam clearly answered that call, and helped many others find their way to being the best of us too, in helping those most in need.
It’s an honor to have an angel like Adam living among us here in Montecito.
He’s going to have a crew handing out food and supplies at Unity Church on Christmas. We’ll be there. You can learn more at adamsangels.life.