Take Care Totes Program Is Lifeline to Homebound Seniors


May 13 marked the 11th monthly delivery of Friendship Center’s signature comfort-food for the isolated soul Take Care Totes. Beginning just 10 days after mandatory shelter-in-place orders, Friendship Center’s Take Care Tote program represents a lifeline to homebound, isolated seniors. 

“Ideally, Take Care Totes represent joy and love as they open the bags to see what activities, treats and practical items are available to them this month,” says Friendship Center Family Services Manager Kim Larsen. “I’ve had members tell me it’s like Christmas or Hanukkah and their birthday all rolled into one.”

Each round of deliveries is organized around a theme, with the latest “spring gardening” featuring terra cotta pots, seed packets and mulch courtesy of Home Improvement Center and Mission Villa.  Straw Panama hats, funded by Donna Baird, along with lip balm and sunscreen sets round out the garden goodies that went out in May. 

Also included each month are games to stimulate the brain, playdough packs, and this month shape springs for manual dexterity exercise. 

This month 37 Totes~down from an all-time delivery high of 130~were delivered with the invaluable volunteer efforts of Easy Lift Transportation and the Santa Barbara Bucket Brigade. Kim personally delivered five and shipped another two to members living outside the area. 

Notes Kim, “I hear back from the families and caregivers that our Take Care Totes really do make members feel the connection and compassion that Friendship Center is famous for when they receive these totes.”

It’s unclear at this point how many more months the Take Care Totes program will continue, but for now we have no plans to stop. As the country cautiously heads toward a re-opening plan, Friendship Center staff too is working out the details of how and when we will re-open for onsite services. 

Contact Family Services Manager Kim Larsen at: [email protected] or (805) 969-0859, ext. 2 to volunteer or receive the Take Care Totes donations wish list.