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The Montecito Village Recovery Fund: Locals Helping Montecito Recover

Disasters such as the Thomas Fire and the 1/9 debris flow can have long-term ramifications for local businesses

Logo forThe Montecito Village Recovery FundTragedies such as the Thomas Fire and the 1/9 Debris Flow would be devastating for any town, but for quaint Montecito, local leaders and businesses are helping to rebuild through the Montecito Village Recovery Fund (MVRC). Besides burning more than 280,000 acres and affecting 400+ families, local businesses lost an estimated $15 million in sales and local wage earners lost a reported at $25-30 million

The Montecito Village Recovery Fund to the Rescue
It all started when a little shop called Village Cheese & Wine Store kept their doors open to first responders and residents in need of food and refuge. Out of that small kindness, community leaders came together and formed the non-profit dedicated to assisting residents and local businesses.

Read: Montecito Community Leadership Forms The Partnership for Resilient Communities

MVRC is built upon the principle that local community members and leaders are best equipped to assess the needs of residents and businesses most affected by natural disasters like the ones Montecito experienced in January, 2018. The group’s priorities are “to assess the needs of the victims, to ensure donations raised remain in the community, and to restore confidence in the vitality of Montecito throughout the process of revitalization and despite storm events which are projected to occur over the next five years.”

Overall the purpose of the MVRC is to act as a conduit to provide funds and resources to properly registered and functioning 501(c)(3) organizations providing needed relief and support in Montecito and other regions impacted by fire and other natural disasters.

Read: 6 Steps to Protect Your Home from Wildfires

Village Wine & Cheese Shop
For 45 years, the Village Cheese & Wine Shop has been a part of the Upper Village. To raise funds for those individuals and businesses in need, the store has developed Montecito-branded wine, and delicious coffee inspired by first responders who worked tirelessly to make the area safe for residents.

“It was inspired by the heroic job, and the job that the Department and first responders have done,” said Patrick Braid, owner of the Village Cheese & Wine Shop and CEO of Montecito Coffee Company, Montecito Wine Company and Montecito Olive Company.

New Montecito Branded Wineproceeds from Montecito wine go toThe Montecito Village Recovery Fund
When you buy a bottle of the new delicious Montecito branded wine, you are actually donating to the cause because a percentage of the sales go directly to MVRC.

“Every label is associated with iconic locations throughout Montecito and Santa Barbara.” One of those iconic locations is Montecito’s Old Firehouse, directly across East Valley Road from Braid’s shop. The building is now home to a number of offices, and the Fire Department headquarters is around the corner on Upper San Ysidro Road.

Brew, Sip, Give
Premium roasted, sustainably sourced 100% Arabica Coffee for a Cause

Purchasing locally roasted, small batch Montecito branded coffee from the Village Wine & Cheese Shop also supports recovery in the community. A percentage of the sales of every bag you purchase is contributed to the fund. Coffee forThe Montecito Village Recovery Fund

With a focus on sustainability and eco-conscious farming, Montecito Coffee Company isn’t just looking to support the  community, but is also helping victims abroad. The delicious natural and organic beans are sourced from single estate cooperative farms and indigenous peoples. The roasters have won many awards and recognitions including ranking second internationally by Coffee Review, but you don’t have to take my word for it. You’ve got to get yourself a cup of this delicious coffee and you’ll be hooked!

5 Other Organizations Helping in the Montecito Recovery

  • United Way of Ventura County
    United Way of Ventura County, the American Red Cross of Ventura County, and the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services have formed a partnership in order to help community relief efforts in the wake of the fires. The local charity is accepting financial donations for its Thomas fire fund online and through texting UWVC to 4144. All of the proceeds will go directly to the fund.
  • California Community Foundation’s Wildfire Relief Fund
    The organization supports immediate and long-term recovery efforts for California wildfires, as well as ways to prevent them in the future. The fund helps people who have suffered long-term physical and mental health problems as a result of the fires, helps to rebuild homes, and provides basic services. Donations can be made online.
  • GoFundMe
    GoFundMe is the pioneer in free online fundraising. This year we saw social fundraising become a key part of how people take action in their communities and across the globe. Search the website to find dozens of fundraisers for specific families and victims who lost their homes due to the fires. From the site, you can donate to families directly.
  • Airbnb
    The service is encouraging California homeowners to sign up and offer their homes up to evacuees for safe emergency housing for free. People can sign up online to open up their homes.
  • Community Disaster Relief Fund
    With both natural and human-caused disasters occurring more frequently and with greater severity, the need for financial resources to support nonprofit and government response and recovery efforts is growing rapidly. The Community Disaster Relief Fund at the Santa Barbara Foundation is built to address this need and is activated in the aftermath of an emergency to support nonprofit organizations in short-term and long-term recovery. Give now.

This year, in the wake of the Thomas Fire and the devastating 1/9 Debris Flow, we were presented with more stories of heroism than we’ve ever seen. I love living in a place where the local community gets together to help those in need. Hearing about the formation of the Montecito Recovery Fund touches my heart. 

If you live here, you know our community is still beautiful and a desirable place to live in spite of what happened last January. If you’ve visited and are wondering if Montecito remains a world-class enclave in which to purchase a home or home away from home, the answer is a solid “Yes!” Whatever your present or future plans might be when it comes to the purchase or sale of a home here, I’m always available to discuss your wants, needs and goals.  Just give me a call at 805.886.9378 or email me at


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