United Way Thomas Fire and Flood Funding Assists Easy Lift

Easy Lift used its specialized transportation services to help more than 600 individuals during the Thomas Fire and mudslides.

Long before the storm hit Santa Barbara early January, Easy Lift drivers were already working around the clock helping residents, including the elderly, evacuate their homes.

With the help of the Santa Barbara Office of Emergency Management, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department and the Santa Barbara American Red Cross, Easy Lift used its specialized transportation services to help more than 600 individuals during the Thomas Fire and mudslides. To help recuperate those expenses and allow Easy Lift to continue serving the community, United Way of Santa Barbara County’s Long Term Recovery Committee has awarded the organization $15,000 through the United Way Thomas Fire and Flood Fund.

“I would like to extend a special thanks to United Way of Santa Barbara County who stepped up as the advisory board for all of the recovered funds,” said Ernesto Paredes, Executive Director of Easy Lift. “This money will serve as a reimbursement for the expenses acquired during this time. It will also allow us to maintain our budget.”

Of the many evacuations Easy Lift drivers helped facilitate, their aid to Casa Dorinda, a Montecito-based retirement community, was one of the most significant.

Due to the flooding, Casa Dorinda was short on water and electricity, compelling staff to find alternative, temporary housing for residents. Easy Lift transported residents to Vista Del Monte, Mission Terrace, Serenity House, Mariposa and a nursing home in Santa Maria. Additionally, Easy Lift continued to assist with coordinating transportation for individuals returning home or recovering items from their residences.

For more information about Easy Lift, visit www.easylift.org/.

Easy Lift is one of 20 community organizations to receive funding from the United Way Thomas Fire and Flood Fund in Santa Barbara County. Over $1.9 million was allocated to Santa Barbara County’s affected families and the organizations serving them. UWSBC distributed 100 percent of the allocated donations.

In total, fund distributions have directly assisted 421 households representing more than 1,200 Santa Barbara County individuals and families and 20 community organizations providing immediate and long-term assistance to over 10,000 local residents impacted by the disasters. The individual assistance process has been carried out in partnership with Family Service Agency, which is providing case management for the individuals impacted by the disasters. Every dollar contributed to the United Way Thomas Fire and Flood Fund is being used to fund services that address the needs of the individuals and families affected by the disasters.

For more information about recipient agencies, please visit www.unitedwaysb.org/thomas-recovery.

United Way of Santa Barbara County

United Way of Santa Barbara County (UWSBC) has the unique and positive vision that “in our community, everyone has a hopeful future.” Since 1923, UWSBC has served Santa Barbara County community through funding, volunteer development, and by utilizing its own unique initiatives that involve dozens of local non-profit and public sector agencies. UWSBC’s local community driven Power of Partnership™ priorities help children, families & seniors with a focus on Education, Income and Health.

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