SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Westerlay Orchids orchestrated a fundraiser to help the FOOD Share, Ventura County’s Food Bank, which has been instrumental in feeding tens of thousands of people displaced by the Woolsey Fire. All of the proceeds from retail orchid sales at the Carpinteria nursery from Dec. 10 to 15 went to the food bank. The $21,030.19 boost to FOOD Share will help it continue its critical operations when demand for food assistance has spiked in the aftermath of the worst fire in its modern history.
“When you witness the important role that organizations like FOOD Share of Ventura hold in the wake of a tragedy of this scale, it’s so easy to get behind their cause,” said Toine Overgaag, owner and president of Westerlay. “It makes me and all of our staff proud to harness our product for the benefit of others. The people at the food bank know how to leverage donations to have the greatest impact for the community.”
FOOD Share has been deeply involved since the fire erupted on November 8 and consumed a vast stretch of land in both Thousand Oaks and Malibu in its earliest stages. Entire neighborhoods were scorched, and by the end of the devastation, three people lost their lives, more than 1,643 structures were lost and thousands of Ventura and Los Angeles county residents had been displaced from their homes. The food bank has had its resources stretched and has been soliciting both food and monetary donations to keep up with the increased demand for its services.
“We couldn’t do this without the support of generous businesses such as Westerlay,” explained Monica White, president and CEO of FOOD Share. “The need to feed our hungry neighbors is not over, and we’ve been in desperate need of a new box truck to deliver food, which is what this donation will go towards. Westerlay’s generous donation is a wonderful demonstration of providing hope and help to those affected by the Woolsey Fire.”
No stranger to philanthropy, Westerlay Orchids regularly holds fundraising drives for local nonprofit organizations and community service groups. Local schools and the Santa Barbara Breast Cancer Resource Center have been among the beneficiaries of other community-focused outreach undertaken by Westerlay.