By Laura Kath


The 19th annual Santa Ynez Valley Christmas Basket Program in 2019 is supporting 161 local families that include 369 children and 293 adults, a total of 662 people.

Recipients of food and gifts through the program must be residents of Ballard, Buellton, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez or Solvang, and families with children under the age of 17 who are struggling financially and unable to provide for them at Christmas time.

The Christmas Basket Program is organized entirely by volunteers from Old Mission Santa Inés, Society of St. Vincent de Paul, St. Mark’s-in-the-Valley Episcopal Church and Santa Ynez Valley Presbyterian Church along with support from hundreds of individuals and more than 35 businesses and organizations. 

“Each year, we want every local family to experience the magic of Christmas regardless of financial status, so we reach out to community members and ask them to help us convey the spirit of the season,” said Basket Program Director Genevieve Geyser. “This program provides a hand-up to help during this Christmas season of sharing and caring.”

Applications to participate in the program are available each October, then reviewed by the all-volunteer committee. Then families are notified of their acceptance in early November. Baskets will be picked up at Old Mission Santa Ines on Dec. 20.

Each family will receive a bountiful hamper of food, staples and toiletries, plus fresh chickens donated by El Rancho Market, a gift card for a local grocery store, as well as a large, decorated box filled with wrapped presents for each family member, plus toys donated from the Alexander family’s annual Christmas display at their Buellton home.

All donations are tax-deductible and all funds go directly to help Santa Ynez Valley families. Checks may be made out to Old Mission Santa Inés, referencing 2019 Christmas Basket Program and mailed to OMSI Office, 1760 Mission Drive, Solvang, CA 93463.

People who have questions about contributing may contact Program Director Genevieve Geyser at 805-688-2106 or