Article provided by Gina Fischer, Office of Supervisor Joan Hartmann
On Monday, March 27 at 9:00 AM, Supervisor Hartmann will tour and volunteer at the Grocery Program food distribution at the Buellton Senior Center to witness the positive impact of the County’s recently allocated funding for this program. The Grocery Program provides groceries to older adults and families in need at no cost. Each bag of groceries through the program provides clients enough food to last one week. The bags are packed by volunteers and ready for pickup at the Buellton Senior Center every Monday morning.
In the County of Santa Barbara’s FY 2022/2023 Budget, Third District Santa Barbara County Supervisor Joan Hartmann secured $35,000 to Santa Ynez Valley Community Outreach (formerly the Buellton Senior Center) to support its Senior Meals-on-Wheels Program. This funding allows Santa Ynez Valley Community Outreach to continue operations of meal delivery for homebound seniors throughout the Santa Ynez Valley.
Said Supervisor Hartmann, “Santa Ynez Valley Community Outreach has really stepped up to meet the needs of so many older adults and families across the Santa Ynez Valley. Making sure that they can continue to help so many residents meet their basic needs is a high priority for me, so I am glad to be able to provide funding to support their work.”
Said Pam Gnekow, Executive Director of Santa Ynez Valley Community Outreach, “The needs of Valley residents are great and growing. Santa Ynez Valley Community Outreach is here to help residents meet their basic needs and we rely on strong public/private partnerships and funding to accomplish work we do. We are grateful to the County and Supervisor Hartmann for a critical lifeline to support our Senior Meals-on-Wheels program.”
About the growing need for senior meal support: Since March 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Santa Ynez Valley Community Outreach has nearly doubled the number of low-income, homebound seniors it feeds throughout the Santa Ynez and Los Alamos Valleys. The organization concurrently suffered a reduction in Federal Meals-on-Wheels and other Community Block Grant funding.
In 2020, Santa Ynez Valley Community Outreach prepared and delivered 73,180 meals and distributed nearly 1 million pounds of food. In addition to five hot meals and weekly groceries delivered, Santa Ynez Valley Community Outreach provides two shelf-stable meals on Fridays to get seniors through the weekend, along with frozen soup. All Meals-on-Wheels clients receive formal bi-monthly well-person check-ups, to check on living conditions and overall health and well-being. Santa Ynez Valley Community Outreach makes in-person contact with most clients daily while adhering to distancing guidelines, providing a significant socialization lifeline to many homebound and/or medically fragile clients.
Santa Ynez Valley Community Outreach currently serves:
- Meals-On-Wheels 225 meal delivery clients: 47 Los Alamos, 8 Lompoc, 4 Solvang, 166 Buellton
- Golden Inn & Village lunches for 45 low-income seniors in Santa Ynez
- Drive-Up Meals for 115 seniors
- Senior Grocery Program to 150 seniors
- Monthly Senior Dinner Delivery to 76 seniors
- Free Daily Farmers Market & Weekly Community Grocery Program to over 900 individuals
Food and fuels costs have increased significantly in the past year further straining Santa Ynez Valley Community Outreach’s food budget. This funding provides a much-need and extremely urgent lifeline so that Santa Ynez Valley Community Outreach can maintain its critical feeding and meals services.
About the Third District: A resident of the Santa Ynez Valley, Supervisor Joan Hartmann was first elected to represent the Third District in 2016. In January 2022, new supervisorial districts went into effect. The Third District now includes the Santa Ynez Valley, and the City of Lompoc, the Gaviota Coast and two-thirds of the City of Goleta. The District encompasses a large swath of the Los Padres National Forest, the entire Santa Ynez River Watershed, and one of the most spectacular coastal stretches in California. Economic drivers include high tech industries, agriculture including world-renown vineyards, and visitor-serving businesses. Rugged mountains, beautiful open spaces, a scenic coastline, vibrant town centers and charming neighborhoods characterize the area.
The Buellton Senior Center is located at 56 West Hwy 246, Buellton 93427.