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One for all: Santa Ynez Valley businesses band together in service of greater community
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One for all: Santa Ynez Valley businesses band together in service of greater community

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During an unprecedented time when a growing number of community members are experiencing food insecurity, local businesses have teamed up with nonprofits to help address the issue on a larger scale.

Steve Sawin, owner of Valley Tool & Truck Rental in Buellton, is contributing in his own way by supplying refrigeration units to both the Buellton Senior Center and Veggie Rescue, which provide sustenance to those in need around the county.

A large semi-trailer refrigeration unit that sits outside of the senior center's walk-up window and holds essential food staples, was donated and delivered to their Buellton location on April 8, he said. And on April 1, a 20-foot refrigeration truck was left in the care of local nonprofit Veggie Rescue to further assist them with daily transport of perishable items to distribution sites.

"We figured it was something that we could contribute at this time," said Sawin. "We just wanted to get those to them so they had a way to continue doing what they're doing for people." 

In turn, Veggie Rescue Executive Director Amy Derryberry said Veggie Rescue was able to move their solar cooler to the Los Alamos Senior Center to help them keep food donations at a proper temperature between distributions.

According to a spokeswoman for The Hitching Post 2 in Buellton, the restaurant's co-owner Frank Ostini and his team have partnered with food suppliers Newport Meats, Jordano's and The Berry Man in an effort to feed front line workers.

Last week the Hitching Post 2 team prepared 160 meals for the janitorial crew at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara, and they plan on doing it again.

"Evidently, the healthcare workers are being taken care of, but the janitors who service the COVID-19 facilities are working long hours and really needed some support," the spokeswoman explained. "So Frank and the team put together some care packages for them."

The senior communication consultant for Allstate Insurance, Terri Stackhouse, said that the Allstate Foundation has contributed $5 million to communities across the U.S., offering support to local nonprofits impacted by the pandemic – including the Santa Ynez Valley.

"The contribution will accelerate relief and recovery for domestic violence victims, youth in need, first responders and communities at large," she wrote.

To help address urgent COVID-19 funding needs, Stackhouse said local domestic violence nonprofits are eligible to apply for grants from The National Network to End Domestic Violence program through Allstate. 

Additionally, Stackhouse said local nonprofits where Allstate agents planned to lead a volunteer project that has been cancelled or postponed, will still be funded by The Allstate Foundation, regardless of whether the volunteer service is completed.

Central Coast Allstate agency owners Shawna Cota of Solvang, Susan Dal Pozzo of Lompoc, Brian and Dana Iversen of Arroyo Grande, and Mary Rowan Ishikawa of Arroyo Grande and Santa Maria, will again help the Santa Ynez Valley Therapeutic Riding Program secure a $5,000 Allstate Foundation Helping Hands® Grant through their volunteerism.

Lisa André covers Valley Life for Santa Ynez Valley News. 

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