Star Report

People Helping People (PHP) has just completed their Thanksgiving food program by furnishing more than 12,000 pounds of food to 225 families in the Santa Ynez Valley and Los Alamos.  Thanks to local donations from individuals, Solvang Rotary, and Albertsons; each family received a turkey.

Dean Palius, PHP C.E.O., said the organization is now focusing on helping during the Christmas season. To assist those in need at Christmas, PHP will open the doors of their Christmas “Fulfill-A-Wish” program boutique for the 22nd consecutive year from December 19th through 21st.  From this boutique, PHP will furnish gifts to 100 of the neediest families, including 250 or more children, in the Santa Ynez and Los Alamos Valleys. This year’s boutique will be held at 175 McMurray Road in Buellton – the future home of PHP’s Thrift Store opening at the same location in early 2017.

According to Palius, the Fulfill-A-Wish Program has been created to permit families to obtain assistance in the most dignified manner possible.

“We try to be as sensitive as possible to the plight of the families we serve,” said Palius. “We have established the ‘boutique’ concept so that income-qualified parents can select a specified number of gift items, based upon their family’s size, in a festively decorated store-like atmosphere.  Parents take these items home, wrap them and give them to family members. In this way, we believe that we are empowering parents as much as possible.”

In order to serve the estimated number of clients this year, PHP must raise approximately $20,000 in donated items and cash. Cash is utilized to offset the approximate $5,000 PHP must spend during the summer to purchase low cost clothing and gifts, especially for “tweens” and teens, at special sales.

To secure toy and gift donations, PHP has partnered with “Toys for Tots” to place 50 gift collection boxes in businesses, schools, and government agencies throughout the valley. These boxes display colorful “Christmas Fulfill-A-Wish” and “Toys for Tots” logos and serve as convenient donation points for the community to assist in the program.

PHP has partnered with the Marine Corps Reserve’s “Toys for Tots” toy campaign for the past several years. This partnership ensures that all of the items donated to this drive in the valley are used here.

PHP is seeking donations of new unwrapped items including toys and games for children 2-12; gift items for teens; infant/toddler, children’s, and teen clothes; and basic house wares including sheets, towels, blankets, coffee pots, dishes and the like. PHP is also once again seeking donations of turkeys or hams for the Christmas tables of those in need. These main course items will be distributed at PHP’s food program on Thursday, December 22nd.

“We all know how stressful the holidays can be. But, can you imagine how painful and discouraging it is for a parent who must face their children on Christmas day without gifts and perhaps even without a tree. PHP developed Fulfill-A-Wish to make sure that all families get to share the joy of the season,” Palius added.

If you want to help to make the season a little more joyous for someone in need, you can drop a gift in one of the Fulfill-A-Wish/Toys for Tots collection boxes or drop gift or food items off directly at PHP’s Solvang Service Center at 545 N. Alisal Road, 8:30 a.m. to  5 p.m. Monday –Friday,  You can also make a financial contribution in person, by mail at P.O. Box 1478 Solvang, CA 93464 or at PHP’s website at For more information call PHP at 686-0295.