Staff Report

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, the Buellton Rotary Club and People Helping People joined to promote, collect, and deliver coats to local parents and their children.

With winter bringing cold weather to the Santa Ynez Valley, many local people cannot afford to purchase warm coats. This is especially true for children, who outgrow their clothing every few months.

“Our club members understood the need for the coats and jackets but did not have the collection and distribution system.  With our knowledge of PHP and their Christmas Fulfill-A-Wish program upcoming, we thought that they could help,” Buellton Rotary President Rene Martinez said.

Justin Wilkins, a PHP manager and Buellton Rotary member, thought it was an obvious and natural partnership.  PHP could obtain and distribute collection boxes and pick up the jackets alongside the organization’s “Toys For Tots” containers placed around the Valley to supply its annual Christmas Fulfill-A-Wish program for families in need at the holidays.

PHP’s C.E.O. approved the plan, Buellton Rotary wrapped and labeled numerous boxes, and PHP volunteers placed the boxes and collected the clothing.

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On Dec. 18, at the opening of its Fulfill-A-Wish boutique, PHP displayed a selection of the 100 items of warm clothing that had been collected.  Families who already pre-approved for participation in PHP’s Fulfill-A-Wish program, based on financial need, were permitted to select one item per family member. A number of the coats were saved for selection for the second day of  Fulfill-A-Wish.

Wilkins said that families were pleasantly surprised by the availability of the coats. “It was the first time we had done this, and the need and gratitude of the families was clearly displayed,” he said.

For more information about People Helping People or its Christmas programs to help those in need, visit or call 686-0295.

For more information about the Buellton Rotary Club, email Rene Martinez at