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November 2020


November 2020

The Growing Community Project

Growing and Sharing to Fight Hunger

Did you know that before COVID-19 hit our region, one out of four families in Santa Barbara County struggled to put enough food on the table? Now, as the pandemic cripples the economy, it’s gotten worse. Responding to this crisis, the Bucket Brigade has launched its most ambitious humanitarian effort to date. It’s called the Growing Community Project.

At the groundbreaking ceremony for The Growing Community Project, held at Trinity Gardens, Santa Barbara County Supervisor Das Williiams (left) explained that countless families are food insecure and standing on the edge of a financial cliff.

Through education, crowdsourcing, and safe deployment, this feeding project empowers volunteers to grow healthy produce and donate it to the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County and other charitable organizations dedicated to improving the nutrition of hungry families.

We need your help to support this groundbreaking program! Please consider making a donation today.


Here’s how the Growing Community Project works —


Sign up — this lets us know that our volunteers are committed to growing fresh produce and donating it to help fight widespread food insecurity.

Community Outreach Coordinator Eunice Valle (left) and her sister Maritza Jaramillo harvest quash in Santa Barbara.


Garden Assistance — We have free raised garden boxes built from clean recycled lumber for volunteers who need help setting up a garden. We deliver!

Bucket Brigade staffers Keith Hamm and Ana Fagan construct a raised garden bed with salvaged oak church pews.

Getting kids involved in the building, planting, tending, and harvesting gets them outside and connected to nature.


Our volunteer gardeners can also get free seeds and starts from Island Feed & Seed.


Once our new gardeners have grown enough veggies to fill a milk crate, they submit a request form, letting us know to deploy one of our volunteer drivers to pick it up. Or they can drop off their bounty at Bucket Brigade headquarters.

Sharing is caring. Just ask Tom Shephard, founder of Shepherd Farms.


Some of our volunteers already have established gardens and want to start donating fresh produce right away. Great! They can drop it off at Bucket Brigade headquarters. Or they can sign up here for a touchless pickup, and we’ll deploy one of our trusted volunteer drivers to pick it up.


We understand that some volunteers don’t have the yard space to garden at home, but they still want to grow and donate fresh produce. For them, we offer a list of community gardens, where they can grow food and connect with their neighbors.


In September, we held our first volunteer day at Trinity Gardens, which has had an active humanitarian garden for 10 years. Twice a week through October and once a week through winter, our Growing Community volunteers are planting, watering, mulching, weeding, and harvesting. Check out our Volunteer Hub page for opportunities to get involved.


Garden Education — For guidance from experts, our volunteer gardeners can download the free “Vegetable Gardening Handbook for Beginners” on our website, and everybody is welcome to join our free Garden Wisdom Wednesdays webinar. This weekly educational event is co-hosted by volunteers with the UC Master Gardeners of Santa Barbara County.


With more teams of volunteers at Bucket Brigade headquarters, we sort and weigh all the donated produce before delivering it to the Foodbank and other charitable feeding partners.


From there, all that fresh nutritious food is given to hungry families across Santa Barbara County!


Volunteer Makers Sew More Than 36,000 Masks

From its humble beginnings on an empty lot in the Oaks neighborhood, our Most Mask Maker project launched in April as we delivered free fabric and elastic to sewing team volunteers sheltering at home during the early days of the pandemic. Soon, thanks to the Montecito Association, we relocated our headquarters to the Montecito Library just as the number of at-home mask makers surpassed 250. At the same time, we recruited, trained, and deployed 50 volunteer drivers to deliver fabric, pick up newly made masks, and fulfill mask requests from critical service workers all across Santa Barbara County, from nurses and farmworks to eldercare facilities and homeless shelters. We always give out the masks for free. Make a request here.

Most Mask Makers by the Numbers

Volunteers Stepping Up for the Community


Masks Made









Public agencies & nonprofit care centers served countywide:

In early April, Most Mask Maker Project lead coordinator Ana Fagan set up shop in an empty lot in the Oaks neighborhood.
Bucket Brigade Executive Director Abe Powell with a few thousand newly made and freshly laundered cloth masks.

Friends of the Friendship Center
Bucket Brigade Partnership Helps High-Risk Seniors

Once a month since March, we’ve partnered with Friendship Center Adult Day Services to help package and deliver food totes to high-risk seniors sheltering in place. Here’s how it works: Working outside in the shade, small groups of safely spaced volunteers fill large gift bags with an assortment of food — lots of nonperishables, plus treats — and personal-care items. By noon, all 120 totes are ready for delivery. That’s when our volunteer drivers show up. After they activate their shifts by pointing their smartphones at a QR-code touchless sign-in sheet, the totes are loaded into the backseat or trunk. They also get a printout of their optimized route, a box lunch donated by a local restaurant, and $15 worth of free unleaded from Village Service Station in Montecito. And off they go, spending the next couple hours delivering much-need items to community members who are riding out the pandemic at home with their families and caregivers. If you’d like to help at our next Friendship Center event, keep an eye out for updates at Volunteer Hub.

Ana Fagan provides the final floral touch to more than 100 totes ready to be delivered to seniors sheltering at home.
Longtime Bucket Brigade volunteer Lexi Hunter checks in at a recent event at Friendship Center Adult Day Services.


Since April, dozens of 3D-printer enthusiasts have been printing parts for PPE face shields, a project spearheaded by Bucket Brigade volunteer Marco Farrell. You need face shields? We got face shields — and they’re free! Don’t be shy about filling out this FACE SHIELD REQUEST FORM, and we’ll deliver them to your door.

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