Fairy merry Christmas: Use our annual nonprofit wish list to bring a little magic to local organizations

Posted in: Santa Maria Sun



With the swoosh of a wand, the Sun fairy godmothers would like to help poof nonprofit wishes into reality this holiday season. And unlike Cinderella, the wishes granted won’t disappear at midnight and won’t come in the form of a pumpkin carriage and some glass slippers—unless for some reason that’s on this holiday season’s wish list.

People’s Self-Help HousingThe needs expressed by local organizations range from the simple volunteer flick of a wand to the gigantic donating sweep of one. Take a gander at the fairytale dreams of a few and see which kind of wish-granting godmother you can be.

The goal of this organization is to provide affordable housing and programs that lead to self-sufficiency for low-income families, seniors, and other special needs groups on the Central Coast. People’s Self-Help Housing now has 44 affordable housing complexes with more than 5,000 low-income residents, including 1,500 residents in the Santa Maria Valley alone.

This holiday season, the organization is looking for new items that would improve the quality of life for residents in its low-income housing complexes. The list of needs includes:

  • • bed pillows
  • • blankets
  • • single sheet sets
  • • bath towels
  • • clothes hanger sets
  • • laundry baskets
  • • waste baskets
  • • lamps
  • • laundry detergent/supplies
  • • cleaning supplies
  • • grocery store gift cards
  • • gas gift cards
  • • bus passes
  • • diapers
  • • pull-over sweaters
  • • reading books for youth


The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County

Imagine the feelings of gratitude and warmth that eight hungry people could have when you donate $1 to The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County and provide eight meals for county residents in need. Now imagine giving just a little more.

The food bank offers nutritious food to the community but isn’t about just feeding people. The organization also provides education about healthy eating habits and a better quality of life. One in four people in the county rely on the food bank for support.

There are several ways to get involved and they include:

• Volunteering: Some tasks include sorting, salvaging, bagging, etc., at the food bank center, but there are also recurring and one-time events such as the annual Picnic in the Park where thousands of children receive lunches throughout the summer. The special talents of a promoter, artist, teacher, writer, counselor, etc., could also be utilized, as the nonprofit looks to the community to accomplish a variety of other tasks that could be costly in time or money.

• Food donations and community-held food and funds drives: The food bank always has a need for foods like peanut butter, canned tuna, dry pasta, beans, and rice, and items like diapers, toothpaste, shampoo, paper towels, etc. You can also collect nonperishable goods at your place of employment, school, and/or church, or participate in a Food & Funds Drive Challenge against another organization, or hold a fundraiser. For details, visit www.foodbanksbc.org/give-help/donate-food/ or www.foodbanksbc.org/give-help/fundraising-toolkit/.

Visit foodbanksbc.org, call 937-3422, or email Darlene Chavez, community leadership coordinator, atdchavez@foodbanksbc.org to get involved today.


Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum

Chris Slaughter, the Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum’s executive director, submitted her own version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas”—“Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum Wish List Remix.”

On the 12th day of Christmas a donor gave to me:

  • • 12 family memberships


  • • 11 science lab kits
  • • 10 volunteers
  • • 9 sets of LEGOs
  • • 8 preschool books
  • • 7 packs of print ink
  • • 6 bins of art scraps
  • • $5,000!
  • • 4 new exhibits
  • • 3 sponsorships
  • • 2 picnic tables
  • • And a 3-D printer with a year’s supply!

Visit smvdiscoverymuseum.org for more information.


Good Samaritan Shelter

Kristin Cahoon delivered a special Good Samaritan Shelter version of “Twas The Night Before Christmas” for this year’s wish list submission:


  • ‘Twas the night before Christmas,
  • And all through the shelter not a child was stirring, not even a shiver;
  • Blankets are scarce and pillows are few;
  • But with 400 full beds under one roof, there’s not much we can do;
  • Now, all of the clients have just settled down for a long, winter’s nap;
  • When the staff is rushing to figure out what resource to tap;
  • So, we are asking our neighbors for some holiday goodwill;
  • Our needs are simple;
  • Just a few wishes to fill;
  • Our detox center has stuffing oozing out of their couch;
  • Welcome kits and diapers would sure help out our TC House;
  • Lined paper, pens, and games would make our After School Program kids smile;
  • Socks, towels, blankets, and pillows sure could last us awhile;
  • Gift cards to stores or bus tokens are great;
  • If money is easier, we can shop and won’t wait;
  • These are just a few of our holiday dreams,
  • Things that would help support our Good Samaritan Team.


Child Abuse Listening Meditation (CALM), Santa Maria

CALM’s mission is to prevent, assess, and treat child abuse in Santa Barbara County. The nonprofit works to strengthen families so children are protected from abuse, and to change parenting attitudes so children can be safe at home. CALM opened its doors in Santa Maria just five years ago and according to Sandra Fuhring, a CALM marriage and family therapist intern, the facility is bursting at the seams.

Fuhring submitted a list of items that will help CALM have A HAPPY CHRISTMAS:

  • Animal or people puppets;
  • Hardcover blank books for children to create their own books with;
  • All types of children’s feelings books such as The Way I Feel and It’s OK to be Different, parenting books such asNo-Drama Discipline and The Whole Brain Child, and therapy books such as Some Parts are Not for Sharing;
  • Palm-sized Porcupine Ball or Massage Ball stress balls
  • Play kitchen, Mr. Potato Head, and puzzles for boys and girls;
  • Youth games like Jenga, Memory games, and Candy Land.
  • Carpet and upholstery cleaning for our offices;
  • Heroes and other TV character stickers;
  • Really large bubble wands;
  • Imagination building toys and games;
  • Self-Calming therapy cards;
  • Therapy toys: Play-Doh and cookie cutters, Play-Doh tools, LEGO sets, toy cars, toy trains and train tracks, and a play jail;
  • Mini fridge and water cooler to keep our therapists refreshed;
  • Art supplies for children such as bright crayons, coloring books, and water colors;
  • Supplies for the office: laminator, laminating sheets, clipboards, and a small copy machine.

To learn more about CALM in Santa Maria, visit calm4kids.org or call 614-9160.


Common Era Ministries Judo, Nipomo

Common Era Ministries Judo is a free martial arts program located in Nipomo that has has produced 27 national champions in the last four years. Seven of these champs were crowned this December. Two of the organization’s judo team competitors have actually earned points toward the 2016 Olympics.


Rush said the organization could use a lot of help to maintain what it has and see how much further it can climb. The program is currently ranked ninth in the nation out of clubs of similar size. He submitted his own twist on “The Twelve Days of Christmas”:Sensei Bob Rush wrote in an email: “We accomplish all of this without charging our students, and without a single paid instructor. In fact the instructors usually help pay for room and board, transportation, and entrance fees, out of their own pockets.”

  • On the first day of Christmas, the Sun Fairy gave to me: A school that fits 100 students.
  • On the second day of Christmas, the Sun Fairy gave to me: New judo gis.
  • On the third day of Christmas, the Sun Fairy gave to me: Free airline miles.
  • On the fourth day of Christmas, the Sun Fairy gave to me: A case of sports tape.
  • On the fifth day of Christmas, the Sun Fairy gave to me: Free screen printing!!!!!!!
  • On the sixth day of Christmas, the Sun Fairy gave to me: Olympic-quality mats.
  • On the seventh day of Christmas, the Sun Fairy gave to me: A gymnastics crash pad.
  • On the eighth day of Christmas, the Sun Fairy gave to me: A year’s worth of rent for the dojo.
  • On the ninth day of Christmas, the Sun Fairy gave to me: Gas cards for our team trips.
  • On the 10th day of Christmas, the Sun Fairy gave to me: A new Judo van.
  • On the 11th day of Christmas, the Sun Fairy gave to me: A laptop and a camera.
  • On the 12th day of Christmas, the Sun Fairy gave to me: Chiropractic care.


PCPA—Pacific Conservatory Theatre

The needs of a professional theatre company are as varied as the topics of the shows it produces.

If PCPA were to present Shaw’s The Doctor’s Dilemma or Moliere’s A Doctor in Spite of Himself, surely they’d have need for a doctor’s bag and tools. Noel Coward would absolutely require working and non-working table lighters, and to make sure the period is perfectly represented, old Ward and Sears catalogues would be invaluable.

Behind the scenes, PCPA’s wishing for flip-top storage tubs, a CNC router, and a high-definition plotter/scanner. Feel like lending a hand? The conservatory could use a few volunteers to help them organize the prop and costume warehouse. And of course, there can never be too many patrons of the arts.

Check out pcpa.org for more information.


Santa Maria Arts Council

The all-volunteer nonprofit Santa Maria Arts Council has been supporting and encouraging the expansion of the arts since 1965.


The council is always looking for more volunteers and would welcome new committee members to assist with the Student Art Show, Individual Grants in the Arts, and fundraisers. New council members are always welcome.

Meetings are held on the third Wednesday of the month at noon. Meetings through 2015 will be held at the Veterans Memorial and Cultural Center on West Tunnel.The council is always looking for more volunteers and would welcome new committee members to assist with the Student Art Show, Individual Grants in the Arts, and fundraisers. New council members are always welcome.

According to Craig Shafer, the council’s president, the organization’s grants fund has generated more than a quarter of a million dollars supporting the brightest emerging artists in the valley, and donations to help that grow are always welcome.

But the council’s biggest wish of all is a supportive community that values the arts, artists, art in education, public art, art presentations, and performances. Check out smartscouncil.org for more.


Life Steps Foundation Inc., The Santa Maria Wisdom Center

Linda Gadbois, program director of Life Steps Foundation Inc., the Santa Maria Wisdom Center, told the Sun that the community-based adult services adult day health-care program has a variety of needs the community can help with. The organization, she explained, provides a variety of health and social services, as well as planned therapeutic and rehabilitative services to the frail, elderly populations of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.

“It is designed for adults requiring planned activities, supervision, social, and recreational services,” she explained in an email. “It provides much needed respite and the daily supervised care necessary for family caregivers to continue to work and function normally.”

She noted that the team is excited about a new chapter starting soon: the construction of a new 9,450-square-foot facility near the junction of McCoy and Depot streets in Santa Maria.

With that development in mind, Life Steps Foundation Inc. is in need of such items as:

  • • a dependable, fuel-efficient vehicle for delivery of meals to homebound area seniors.
  • • landscaping services, plantings, and ornamental items.
  • • new commercial-grade appliances: refrigerators, freezers, a range, mobile cabinet warmers, a microwave, a dishwasher, coffee makers, mixers, etc.
  • • new durable, restaurant-quality tableware and flatware to service 120 people.
  • • new heavy-duty, outdoor furniture suitable for disabled\handicapped individuals.
  • • new large, commercial-grade gas barbecue grill to service 55 to 110 people.
  • • office furniture to furnish six offices.
  • • computer equipment.
  • • rehabilitative exercise equipment.
  • • medical/nursing equipment: two hospital beds, an exam table, medication carts, and storage cabinets.


These wish lists were compiled by Managing Editor Camillia Lanham; contact her via email at clanham@santamariasun.com.

There are no comments published yet.

Leave a Comment

Change this in Theme Options
Change this in Theme Options