After 2020 hiatus, event to help homeless, at-risk veterans set for Oct. 16

Staff Report

During the Santa Barbara County’s Veterans Stand Down event on Oct. 16, homeless and at-risk veterans will receive food, clothing, hygiene products, medical and vision screening, haircuts and showers. They will also learn about opportunities and programs including veterans treatment court, California ID cards, housing, employment and training, mental health, legal assistance, social services and more. 

The Stand Down will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Santa Maria Fairpark. This is the ninth year of the local event. The 2020 Stand Down was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Applications for veterans who want to attend the Stand Down are available at the Santa Barbara County Veterans Stand Down website at or by calling Santa Barbara County Supervisor Steve Lavagnino’s office at 805-346-8402.  There is no charge to veterans and their families who attend Stand Down. 

Stand Down organizers have created an easy link for generous donors to select much needed items at and have them delivered directly to Stand Down. Follow the directions at and select from dozens of items needed by veterans. 

Stand Down volunteers will also be available at a drive-thru donation center throughout September and October at the Santa Maria Fairpark. The site at the small livestock barn (enter at Gate 5, on West Stowell at Depot Street) will be open from noon to 2 p.m. on Sept. 22, Sept. 29, Oct. 6 and Oct. 13. A collection in Lompoc will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Oct. 2-3 at Walmart, 701 W. Central Ave. New items, such as towels, underwear, socks and shirts are greatly needed.

Stand Down organizers are also in need of volunteer barbers and stylists for the event. Please email for more information.

Free transportation courtesy of the Chumash Casino will be provided for veterans, with bus pick-ups in Santa Barbara, Isla Vista, Solvang, Buellton and Lompoc. Schedules are online at New this year will be a free shuttle service to the Stand Down from San Luis Obispo County, courtesy of San Luis Obispo Veterans Services Collaborative and Ride-On Transportation. Sites will be located in Paso Robles, Atascadero, Los Osos, San Luis Obispo and Grover Beach. Times and addresses are under the transportation tab at

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department will provide veterans with free COVID-19 vaccinations and testing, as well as flu shots.

For volunteer opportunities, please email

Major donors this year include CoastHills Credit Union, Santa Ynez Opportunity Shop, the Northern Trust Co., American Legion Unit 125, Allan Hancock College, Kirk & Simas, the Housing Authority of Santa Barbara County and the Santa Barbara Elks Lodge No. 613 Groovin’ in the Grove Classic Car and Vintage Trailer Show. Food for veterans and volunteers is graciously being donated by the Santa Barbara County Cattlemen’s Association and IBEW/NECA.