First, some geography for non-Californians: Montecito, where deadly mudslides and floods recently happened after the wildfires, is nestled between the Santa Barbara Polo Club in Carpenteria and the city of Santa Barbara. A horse-dense enclave, Montecito suffered the brunt of both natural disasters and still needs assistance (see below for how you can help).
We just spoke with Melanja Jones, manager of Santa Barbara Polo Club, who was happy to report that all the horses and livestock (which had been evacuated from the club during the fires and have returned to the club) are fine. However, horse owners and caregivers are finding it tough going to get back and forth from the club and from Montecito because the main access road (Pacific Coast Highway) is still shut down and is likely to be for some time.
Alex Frost, a local resident and an activist in rallying support for the efforts, reports on her Facebook page about the ongoing situation in Montecito: “The people at Santa Barbara Equine Evacuation and Assistance Team are just amazing and have done a standup job helping the horse community through weeks and weeks of natural disasters related to the Thomas fire and floods. These are the people who answer the phone at 3 a.m. in the morning when the mountains are on fire and stay until all the horses are fed in the floods. Please help in any way you can.”
See Frost’s Facebook page for ways to join any of the volunteer efforts.
Here is what the Santa Barbara Equine Evacuation and Assistance Team needs right now:
-A golf cart to transport the hay to the animals and get around the Earl Warren show grounds (where the evacuated horses and livestock are).
-A sleeping trailer. Their team is sleeping on cots. They are cold and uncomfortable. They have been doing this since the Thomas fire that started before Christmas.
-Financial contributions to buy feed, hay and supplies. They said La Cumbre Feed and their customers have been “incredible” to them. Someone walked into La Cumbre Feed and paid their current tab for the evacuated animals.
(1) Online: venmo@SBEquine-EvacTeam
(2) Mail a check to: Santa Barbara Equine Evacuation Team, P.O. Box 60535, Santa Barbara, CA 93160
(3) They are currently setting up PayPal on their website, and that should be ready this week.
-A permanent sleeping trailer they can use every time a disaster strikes. It would be ideal to have relationships with people long-term to provide this "automatically" or if someone had one to donate. It needs to be in very good, usable condition.
-A top-notch IT person who can create a new website and help them long-term as a partner. They don't know IT very well, as their focus is horses and animals. This might be perfect for a local company that has a website and tech department already, who hopefully could take them under their wing like a "big brother/sister tech partner.”
-Help with social media, posting, monitoring and responding.
This non-profit was started by a horse-loving couple who are more than 90 years of age. Said Frost: “This organization is kind, hardworking and very humble. They are not fancy and they don't have the big budgets. They just give. Please help in any way you can.”
Photos by Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo